STEPS IN FILLING RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2015 APPLICATION
The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 is exactly what it is named. It is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens” and replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002.
The official website http://www.righttoinformation.gov.in/ says, “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.”
The details of the Act and its rules are available at www.rtifoundationofindia.com
RTI is one of the most important tools that citizens can use to seek any kind of information from Government offices (except sensitive information). Though RTI came into force few years back, very few citizens actually take advantage of it. The biggest reason for that is – many do not know how to file it or stay away from it as they think filing an RTI is a complicated process. Initially, when RTI was launched, the process was slightly tedious, but with time and technology, the process has become very easy.
Filing an RTI by post:-
The Act prescribes a simple procedure to obtain information:-
Step 1: Identify the department you want information from. Some subjects fall under the purview of State governments or local authority such as the municipal administration/panchayat, while others are handled by the Central government
Step 2: On a sheet of white paper, write out the application by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area. You can also ask the public information officer to put it in writing
Step 3: Address the application to the State/Central Public Information Officer. Write the name of the office from which you seek information, and the complete, correct address. Clearly mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005’ in your subject line
Step 4: State your request in the form of specific, detailed questions, and mention the period/year your request falls into. Ask for documents or extracts of documents, if required. To obtain documents, the applicant has to make a payment of Rs. 2 per page
Step 5: Pay Rs. 10 to file the plea. This can be done in the form of cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The stamp should be affixed to the application. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) need not make the payment but have to attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application
Step 6: Provide your full name and address, contact details, email address and sign the application clearly. Put in the date and the name of your town
Step 7: Take a photocopy of the application and keep one with you for future reference. Send your application by post or hand it in personally to the department concerned. Don’t forget to get an acknowledgment
Step 8: The law mandates that information be provided in 30 days. If this does not happen, you can file an appeal. The first appeal should be addressed to ‘The Appellate Authority’ with the name of the department and the address. The appellate authority is mandated to revert within 30 days from the date of receipt of the appeal. If the Appellate authority fails to reply, further appeals lie with the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission
Filing an RTI Online:-
Step 1: Visit https://rtionline.gov.in/ for online filing of RTI. Registering as a user is not mandatory now. However, if you were to do it, it hardly takes any time at all. Just fill in some basic details. A sample page is shown below-
While filling in the form, please make sure that your email address and mobile number is correct and valid since you will receive email notifications and SMS alerts after you file your RTI.
Once you have pressed submit, you will receive a confirmation on your registered email ID stating that your account with RTI website has been created. Along with the email, an activation ID will be sent. Enter this activation ID in the form that is shown to you after your initial registration form. Your account is now activated, and you can start filing your RTI request.
Step 2: Click on “Submit Request”. A page will open as shown below-
Fill in the details as required. Do make sure that the request is directed to the correct ministry, government department or the apex body.
Step 3: At present, the text of an application that can be uploaded at the prescribed column is confined to 3000 characters only. In case an application contains more than 3000 characters, it can be uploaded as an attachment, by using the option “Supporting document”.
Step 4: Once you have pressed the “Submit” button, your RTI is successfully uploaded and queued. However, the procedure is not complete unless you make a payment.
Step 5: After filling the first page, the applicant has to click on “Make Payment” to make payment of the prescribed fee, i.e. Rs10/-. The applicant can pay the prescribed fee through the following modes-
(a) Internet banking through SBI and its associated banks;
(b) Using credit/debit card of Master/Visa;
(c) Using RuPay Card.
Fee for making an application is as prescribed in the RTI Rules, 2012.
Step 6: After making payment, you will receive an email as well as SMS confirmation that your application has been successfully received, as shown below-
Step 6: No RTI fee is required to be paid by any citizen who is below the poverty line as per RTI Rules, 2012. However, the applicant must attach a copy of the certificate issued by the appropriate government in this regard, along with the application.
Step 7: On submission of an application, a unique registration number will be issued, which may be referred to by the applicant for any future references. Keep this number safely since you might require it for any kind of follow-up.
Step 8: The application filed through this Web Portal will reach electronically to the “Nodal Officer” of concerned Ministry/Department, who will transmit the RTI application electronically to the concerned CPIO.
PLEASE NOTE:- For making an appeal to the first Appellate Authority, the applicant has to click at “Submit First Appeal” and fill up the page that will appear. The registration number of original application has to be used for reference. As per RTI Act, no fee has to be paid for the first appeal. The applicant/the appellant should submit his/her mobile number to receive SMS alert.
The status of the RTI application/first appeal filed online can be seen by the applicant/appellant by clicking at “View Status”. If it is found that an additional fee is required, the CPIO will intimate the applicant through the RTI portal. This intimation can be seen by the applicant through Status Report or through his/her e-mail alert.
The essential requirements of an application filed under the RTI Act are:
(a) The applicant should be a citizen of India.
(b) The application should contain the particulars of information sought.
(c) The evidence of payment of application fee should be enclosed.
(d) The address of the applicant should be available for sending a reply.
Personal details except those necessary for contacting an applicant is not required.
Time Taken to Process the Request:-
Generally, it will take around 30 to 45 days for the applicant to receive the reply for their RTI. It depends on the nature of the request. If the reply is not received within the specified time frame, the applicant can log in to their account and then submit an appeal to the appellate authority. You can also make an appeal if you are unhappy with the decision made by the PIO.
Please note that the PIO has the right to reject your request outright because you may not have mentioned specifically the information you want or your application may have been too broadly worded. Therefore, it is important to write your request precisely and to the point. Sometimes you may be given the option of re-drafting or re-submitting your application within a particular time period.
Compiled by Dipshikha Sinha, Intern