HOW TO FILE AN RTI UNDER RTI ACT, 2005: DEALT UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE ACT, 2005.
Author: Gunjan Bhagchandani, 7th Semester, Faculty of Law, Lucknow University
“INDIA IS A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY, WHICH HAS GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND OF THE PEOPLE”
Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to provide a– RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens for quick search of information on the details of first Appellate Authorities, PIOs etc. amongst others, besides access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments. RTI IS A PART OF THE DEMOCRATIC INDIA, where any citizen has a fundamental right to seek information regarding working of any government authority.
The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense. It goes without saying that an informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed. The Act is a big step towards making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government.
HOW TO FILE RTI APPLICATION
A citizen, who desires to obtain any information under the Act, should make an application to the Public Information Officer of the concerned public authority in writing in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. The application should be precise and specific. He should make payment of application fee at the time of submitting the application as prescribed in the RTI Rules, 2012. The applicant can send the application by post or through electronic means or can deliver it personally in the office of the public authority. The application can also be sent through an Assistant Public Information Officer. He should make all efforts to ascertain as to which the public authority is concerned with the information. If the information sought by an applicant is related to different PIOs in a Public Authority or is related to different Public authorities, the supply of information is likely to take a lot more time than if the information sought is related to a single PIO in one Public Authority. The applicant should not list out his grievances in the RTI application but should clearly mention which information or record he would like to seek. Further, if the drafting of the application is such that it pin points towards the specific documents required in relation to the information sought, there would be less scope of ambiguity, thereby resulting in less chances of denial of information by the Public Information Officer.
Fee for Seeking Information: Along with the application, the applicant should send application fee to the Public Information Officer. In case of Government of India, the prescribed application fee is Rs. 10/- which can be paid through a demand draft or a banker’s Cheque or an Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the public authority or to the Assistant Public Information Officer against proper receipt. In case of online applications to Central Ministries/departments, fee can be paid online through internet banking of State Bank of India or through Master/Visa credit/debit cards. The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the Public Information Officer. The fee so demanded can be paid the same way as application fee. If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) category, he is not required to pay any fee. However, he should submit a proof in support of his claim as belonging to the below poverty line category. The application not accompanied by the prescribed application fee or proof of the applicant’s belonging to below poverty line category, as the case may be, shall not be a valid application under the Act.
Format of Application: There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can be made on a plain paper. The applicant should mention the address at which the information is required to be sent. The information seeker is not required to give reasons for seeking information.
Filing of Appeal: An applicant can file an appeal to the first appellate authority if the information is not supplied to him within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him. Such an appeal should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public Information Officer is received. The first appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal. If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Information Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.
Right to Information is a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. As early as in 1976, the Supreme Court said in the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP, that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. So In today’s democratic society people should use this right to know where they are investing their public power and electing which authority and for what purpose.
 1975 AIR 865, 1975 SCR (3) 333.
This Article was prepared or accomplished by Gunjan Bhagchandani in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the LawOF.in
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