Right to Information Act

RTI stands for Right to Information. Right to Information is a part of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India, which says that every citizen has freedom of speech or expression.  Besides that, every citizen pays either direct or indirect taxes, therefore, they have the right to know how their money is being spent.

If the concerned officer does not provide information on time, a penalty of INR 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner. If the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of INR 25,000 can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete/or rejecting your application for mala fide reasons. This fine is deducted from the officer's personal salary. 

How many times can RTI be filed?

This applicant is permitted to submit only three RTI applications in a year to seek particular information as per the Supreme Court order within 30 days.

What is the Time Period for Supply of Information?

In normal course, information to an applicant shall be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority. If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours.

How many sections are there in RTI?

RTI Act2005 has been divided into six chapters, and there are 31 Sections in RTI Act 2005.

What happens if no reply of RTI?

If the applicant does not receive the response for the RTI, within 30 days (or 35 days in case the application was transferred to another department or was submitted to APIO) of submitting the application, then the applicant can file for an appeal.

Is RTI a constitutional Right?

Right to Information Act is a fundamental right and is an aspect of Article 19 (1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. Right to Information replaced the Freedom of Information Act, 2002.

Who can impose penalties under RTI Act?

As per Section 20(1) of the RTI Act, the CIC or the SIC, has the powers to impose a penalty on the PIO, while deciding on a complaint or a second appeal. The penalty can be imposed if the PIO has refused to receive an application.

Can CCTV footage be provided under RTI Act?

The police can no longer refuse CCTV footage of a police station if it is sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

What record is exempted from disclosure of information?

Under Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship is exempted from disclosure, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

Can salary details be disclosed under RTI Act?

Central information Commission orders and court judgments have held that Few phases of the salary of an employee can be revealed under the RTI Act.  

Can wife know Husband's salary?

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Wednesday said that the wife has the right to know her husband's salary and can seek information about the same through Right to Information (RTI).

How can we stop misuse of RTI?

Misuse of filing RTI petitions in name of others or with non-existing persons has also become quite common. Provision of compulsorily attaching copy of ID proof should be there for filing complaints in government-departments to prevent filing complaints in name of others.

Is there any format for filing RTI?

The Right to Information Act, 2005 does not lay down any prescribed format for RTI Application. It is entirely up to you to identify what you must include in your application. The objective of writing an effective RTI application is simple – to enable the public authority to give you the information you seek for.

Can RTI be submitted by hand?

Application along with requisite fee as prescribed under the RTI Act, 2005, can be made either by Post or by Hand  

What are the rights under RTI Act 2005?

Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen to:

  • Ask any question to the government or seek any information
  • Take copies of any government documents
  • Inspect any government documents
  • Inspect any government works
  • Take samples of materials of any government work.
  • x

Which bodies are covered under RTI?

The Central RTI Act extends to the whole of India. All bodies, which are constituted under the constitution or under any law or under any government notification or all bodies, including NGOs, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the government are covered.

Can the public information officer (PIO) refuse to give information?

A PIO can refuse information on 11 subjects that are listed in section 8 of the RTI Act. These include information received in confidence from foreign governments, information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc. 

Does the act provide for partial disclosure?

Yes. Under Section 10 of the RTI Act, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act.

Who will give me information?

One or more existing officers in every government department have been designated as PIO. These PIOs act like nodal officers. You have to file your applications with them. They are responsible for collecting information sought by you from various wings of that Department and providing that information to you. In addition, several officers have been appointed as Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs). Their job is only to accept applications from the public and forward it to the right PIO.

Where do I submit application?

You can do that with the PIO or with APIO. In case of all central government departments, you can go to any of these post offices and submit your fee and application at the RTI counter in these post offices. They will issue you a receipt and acknowledgment and it is the responsibility of that post office to deliver it to the right PIO.

Is there any fee?  

Yes, there is an application fee. For central government departments, it is INR 10.

How can I apply for information?

Draft your application on a normal sheet of paper and submit it by post or in person to the PIO. (Remember to keep a copy of the application for your personal reference)

How can I deposit my application fee?

Every state has a different mode of payment for the application fee. Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:
• In person by paying cash 
• By post through demand draft
• Indian postal order
• Money orders (only in some states)
• Affixing court fee stamp (only in some states) 
• Banker's cheque
• Some state governments have prescribed some head of the account. You are required to deposit fee in that account. For that, you can either go to any branch of SBI and deposit cash in that account and attach deposit receipt with your RTI application. Or you can also send a postal order or a DD drawn in favor of that account along with your RTI application. 

Where can I locate the concerned PIO?

A list of PIOs/APIOs and appellate authorities for all central and state departments/ministries is available online.

Is there a time limit to receiving information?

Yes. If you file your application with the PIO, you must receive information within 30 days.  In case you have filed your application with Assistant PIO then information has to be made available within 35 days. In case the matter to which the information pertains affects the life and liberty of an individual, information has to be made available in 48 hours.


Other details 

If you do not receive information or are dissatisfied with the information received, you can file an appeal with the first appellate authority. Every public authority must designate a first appellate authority. This officer designated is the officer senior in rank to your PIO. There is no fee for the first appeal. However, some state governments have prescribed a fee. The first appeal within 30 days of receipt of information or within 60 days of filing RTI application (if no information received). If you do not receive information even after the first appeal, then you can take the matter forward to the second appeal stage. Thereafter you can file the second appeal with the information commission within 90 days of disposal of the first appeal or within 90 days of the date, by when the first appeal was to be decided. There are no fees for the second appeal also. Further, there is no requirement of mentioning the reasons for such information.

The main aim of the RTI act is to empower the citizens of the country to know and understand their basic rights. If utilised properly, this act can surely make our nation a corruption free one.

A suggested Application form for seeking information under the RTI Act

To,
The Central /State Public Information Officer
or Assistant Public Information Officer
(Name of the Office along with the Address)

Sir/Madam,

Sub:-Application seeking Information under RTI Act, 2005.

It is requested to provide the following information under the RTI Act, 2005.
(1) Details of information required
(a) Subject matter and details of information required in the form of questions which should be specific.
Q. No. 1 - ……
Q. No. 2 - …….
Q. No. 3 - ……..
(b) Period for which information is sought.
(2) If inspection is being sought, a categorical mention should be made.
(3) If life and liberty is claimed, it should be specified.

(4)In case of schedule II organisations, a specific mention of corruption/human rights violations to be made
(5) Any other relevant point

In case the information is held by or related to another public authority, the application or such part of it as may be appropriate may be transferred to that other public authority under intimation to the undersigned as per Section 6(3) of RTI Act. (It acts as a reminder for the PIO who is required to do it under the Act).

Evidence of payment of Application fee of Rs. 10/- and mode of payment.
(i) A fee of Rs. 10/- has been deposited in cash in the Accounts Office of the Public authority vide Receipt No.________ dated__________; or
(ii) A Postal Order/Bank Draft No. __________ dated _______ is enclosed; or
(iii) Exemption from payment of fees is claimed and evidence of the BPL status(example- Photocopy of BPL Ration Card) is attached.

Signature /Thumb Impression of the applicant
Full name and Postal Address of the Applicant
Contact Phone No. and e-mail (If any)

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