All About Right To Information
Every citizen has a right to know how the Government is functioning. Right to Information empowers every citizen to seek any information from the Government, inspect any Government documents and seek certified photocopies thereof. Some laws on Right to Information also empower citizens to official inspect any Government work or to take sample of material used in any work. Right to Information includes the right to:
- Inspect works, documents, records.
- Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
- Take certified samples of material.
- Obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video , cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts.
Any citizen can ask for information under these laws.The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. OCI's (Overseas Citizens of India) and PIO's (Persons of Indian Origin) card holders can also ask for information under the RTI Act. For citizens, OCI's and PIO's who are staying out of India, the RTI Application can be filed with the PIO of the local Indian Embassy/Consulate/High Commission and they will inform you regarding the amount of application fee in local currency as well as the mode of payment.
- Your name, address, contact telephone number and your email id
- Information about Public Information officer, name, address e.t.c. Locate central Government PIO's here! In case you have problems locating your PIO/APIO you can address your RTI application to the Pio C/o Head of Department and send it to the concerned Public Authority with the requisite application fee. The Head of Department will have to forward your application to the concerned PIO.
- Do not adress your RTI application to the PIO by his name, just in case he gets transferred or a new PIO is designated in his place.
- Are there any organization in Government not covered under RTI Act?
- Mode of Payment available with CPIO, the fees, and Contact person to receive the application. (In most of the cases the Assistant Chief Public Information officer, ACPIO or directly the CPIO).
- In person by paying cash [remember to take your receipt]
- By Post through:
- Demand Draft/Bankers Cheque
- Indian Postal Order
- Money orders (only in some states)
- Affixing Court fee Stamp (only in some states)
- Some state governments have prescribed some head of 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 favour of that account along with your RTI application. Please see respective state rules for complete details
- For Public Authorities under Central RTI rules, DoPT has recently clarified that BC/DD/IPO can be in favour of "Accounts Officer". If the department or administrative unit does not have a Accounts Officer, they are supposed to designate someone, as per DoPT circular
- Use a white sheet of paper to write an application. There is no need to using Note-sheet, or the Court stamp paper. You can use your letter pad for asking for information.
- The matter can be hand written, or typed. There is no compulsion of typing the content.
- Make sure the application is legible and easy to read.
- There is no restriction on number of pages for asking information.
- There are also no restriction on number of questions that can be asked in one application. However, it is generally advisable to ask restrict one application with limited set of questions and generally related ones.
- Be very specific & ask to the point questions. Don't ask vague questions.
- Ask as many short questions as you like ,but don't ask for voluminous information.
- Ask information always by writing your name and signature, and not by your post, as only citizen have the right to information.
- Do not ask a question containing 'WHY'! For example, questions like why you failed to pass the bill, is liable to be rejected for not covering under RTI Act.
- You can ask for reasons behind a "administrative" or a "quasi-judicial" decision under Section 4(1)(d), especially if you are a "affected person"
- If the information sought is voluminous, it is better to ask it in the form of CD to save on cost.
- Remember that, you do not need to write the reason for asking the information.
- Mention the payment details like BC/DD/IPO number, issuing bank/post office, date, cash receipt details , etc., towards the end of your application
You will need a proof, that your RTI application has been received by the PIO. The tested methods to submit a RTI application are:
- Personally, by hand: Please ensure that you get your copy of the application and proof of payment duly stamped, signed and dated, either by the PIO or by the inward department
- Registered Post AD: The AD card will act as proof of submission, after it is returned to you by the postal department. In case the AD card does not come back with a proper stamp, signature and date of receipt, follow up with the despatching post office to get the AD card completed
- Speed Post (A postal department service): Once the application is sent by Speed Post, track it on http://www.indiapost.gov.in/Speednew/track.aspx and keep a print out of the delivery status carefully with you
GUIDELINES FOR GETTING INCOME TAX REFUND ORDERS
- You should get refund order maximum within 12 months from end of financial year in which I.T. return is filed
- If you do not get refund as above submit by regd. ad post letter as per annexure A. with its enclosures.
- If no refund or reply is received within 30 days, file RTI application as per annexure B. Enclose IPO for Rs.10/- in the name of Accounts Officer, Income Tax Dept, Govt of India and made payable at the place of submission of RTI application. IPO is available at near-by post office. Also enclose photocopy of annexure A and its enclosures.
- If no action is taken within 35-40 days of mailing RTI application, file first appeal within next 35-40 days, contact local RTI activists for preferring second and final appeal to Central Information Commission, New Delhi.
- Avoid visiting Income Tax Office. You may waste time, money and energy and will have unpleasant experience of govt. office ! Deal through regd/speed ad post. Avoid courier service.
- Retain photocopy of all papers sent to IT Dept. for future reference.
- Concerned Income Tax Assessing Officer is the CPIO of the ward.
- You can visit www.incometaxindia.gov.in for guidance.
- U can also refer the matter to Income Tax Ombudsman, details of which are on website mentioned at 8 above.
The sample application for Passport StatusHOW TO DEAL WITH DELAY IN ISSUE/RENEWAL OF PASSPORT WITH RTI ACT 2005 Large numbers of visitors to this site are facing delay in issue or renewal of passports. They can file attached RTI application to expedite the process, in case of unreasonable delay.Click Here To Download It You need adobe reader to view this file Download it from HERE
The sample application for Provident FundThere are large number of queries and problems regarding delay in settlement of Provident Fund dues by EPFO. I am attaching format for filing RTI application for expediting settlement of dues. For address of CPIO and payee of postal order, pl visit www.epfindia.nic.in. If you cannot get these details, pl send applicatation to CPIO of nearest PF office with postal order of Rs.10 favouring "ACCOUNTS OFFICER, EPFO". He is bound to redirect within five days of receipt by him to correct CPIO after referring your details and copy of application for withdrawal already submitted by you. Click Here To Download It You need adobe reader to view this file Download it from HERE
Kindly follow these guidelines for filling Second Appeal at Central Information Commission.
- Fill in the above appeal/complaint form, index and chronological order of progress. If you are filing appeal remove ‘complaint/complainant’ words. If complaint is being filed, cut words “second appeal/appellant”
- Get it typed in double space.
- Get one photocopy of:
- Original application under RTI with its enclosures
- First appeal with its enclosures
- Bank demand draft/pay slip/postal order/cash receipt used for paying filing fee of Rs.10/-and other charges
- Copy of demand letter of CPIO for charges if any
- Postal proof of mailing original application and first appeal
- Postal AD slips/official acknowledgement received from CPIO and FAA
- Decisions of CPIO and FAA if received
- Arrange all papers as per index and then serially number all papers on right hand side top corner. This is one original set of second appeal/complaint.
- Prepare additional four sets as above by photocopying.
- Sign each page of appeal, index and chronology chart [all five sets].
- Self attest all the photocopies by signing under the word “Attested”
- Send one set by speed/regdad/upc post to each of CPIO and FAA and attach photocopy of proof of mailing to the original, extra copy of second appeal/complaint and your copy after filling details in index/chronology chart.
- Mail original set and one extra copy of set by registered AD to the commission at the following address: The Registrar, CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION II floor, August Kranti Bhavan, Bhikaji Kama Place, NEW DELHI 110066
- Avoid courier services.
- Retain one set for your record and reference, with proof of mailing and AD received from CIC/CPIO/FAA for having received second appeal/complaint.
- If postal AD card is not received or acknowledgement letter is not received from CIC within 15 days of mailing, it is better to send by speed post copy of only second appeal/complaint [without enclosures] with a request to trace the same at CIC. Photocopy of regd post receipt may also be mailed to CIC.
- You can consult local NGO/RTI activist for filing first or second appeal to have better result. Services are generally free.
COMPLAINT UNDER RTI ACT Section 18 of the act empowers Central Information Commission [CIC] and also State Information Commissions [SICs] to enquire into complaints against Public Authority, Public Information Officer [PIO] and First Appellate Authority [FAA]. The section has provided for enquiring and taking corrective steps by the respective commissions in respect of majority of problems that the applicant/appellant may face in getting information to which he is entitled to under this act. Situations under which complaint can be lodged
- No PIO or APIO or FAA is appointed by public authority.
- PIO/APIO/FAA has refused to receive application/appeal.
- No reply is received from PIO & FAA within time limit fixed by the act.
- Reply received from PIO is unsatisfactory, irrelevant, unreadable, misleading, unclear, false, incomplete etc.
- Information has been wrongly and unjustifiably refused.
- When applicant is required to pay fee/charges in excess of those prescribed in RTI rules applicable.
- PIO/APIO is not accessible in person or by post and his whereabouts are not easily available/prominently exhibited.
- Proactive disclosure under section 4  has not been made or it is not made publicly available/accessible.
- PIO/FAA has wrongly refused inspection of records of public authority or reasonable cooperation is not extended during inspection.
- PIO, FAA or any other person directly/indirectly intimidates or ill-treats or pressurizes the applicant/appellant or restraints him from exercising his right under the act.
- PIO/FAA disobeys orders of CIC/SIC.
- Any other situation where the citizen has been wrongly restrained/refused access to information to which he is entitled under the act.
- Any other violation of provisions of the act by public authority, PIO or FAA.
- Complaints relating to information of central government public authorities are to be lodged with Central Information Commission [CIC], August Kranti Bhavan, Bhikaji Kama Place,NEW DELHI 110066. www.cic.gov.in In case of information of public authorities of State Govts, complaints have to be lodged with respective State Information Commissions [SICs]. Details are available on official websites of State Govts. /State Information Commissions. Please visit www.rti.gov.in for statewise details.
- CIC and some of SICs have prescribed minimum information or papers that must be submitted with the complaint. Some SICs have prescribed format for complaint. For CIC and those SICs, which have not prescribed format,
- CIC does not charge any fee for complaints. Some SICs charge fees for this purpose.
- There is no time limit for lodging complaint, but it is advisable to lodge the same within reasonable time of happening of cause for complaint.
- Send copy of complaint to PIO/FAA simultaneous with CIC/SIC. At times PIO/FAA solves your problem before hearing at CIC/SIC.
- Ask for punishment to PIO/FAA under the act and also claim compensation for not getting the information in time.
- Information Commissions are vested with powers of Civil Courts in respect of summoning, enforcing attendance, giving evidence on oath, producing records, etc.
- Complaint is in addition to Second/final Appeal available to applicants.
- It is advisable to simultaneously approach head of the organization or govt. dept at capital-level [secretary/chief secretary] for his intervention. This may help get information.
- After lodging complaint, please check from concerned website if the same is registered and registration number and status.
- In case of information pertaining to life and liberty, the complaint should be conspicuously branded as “Life & Liberty-Urgent” so that priority is accorded for its disposal before it is too late. Follow-up through email is recommended if available with SIC.
- CIC/SICs are flooded with appeals/complaints and there is huge pendency. Thus it may take 12 to 36 months before complaint is heard.
- It is advisable to take free help from experienced RTI activists/NGO if locally available so that matter can be effectively and properly represented through complaint.
The Second Schedule of the RTI Act exempts certain Public Authorities under the Central Government from disclosure of information under the RTI Act 2005. However, these Public Authorities have to respond to RTI Applications which pertain to subjects of Human Rights and Corruption. As per Section 5(1) of the RTI Act and the instructions of DoPT, they are also supposed to have a PIO and a AA. (Please see: http://www.righttoinformation.gov.in...24_2007_IR.pdf) As on 28th March 2008, the following is the list in the Second Schedule: 1. Intelligence Bureau. 2. Research and Analysis Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat. 3. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. 4. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau. 5. Directorate of Enforcement. 6. Narcotics Control Bureau. 7. Aviation Research Centre. 8. Special Frontier Force. 9. Border Security Force. 10. Central Reserve Police Force. 11. Indo-Tibetan Border Police. 12. Central Industrial Security Force. 13. National Security Guards. 14. Assam Rifles. 15. Sashastra Seema Bal. 16. Directorate General of Income-tax (Investigation) . 17. National Technical Research Organisation. 18. Financial Intelligence Unit, India. 19. Special Protection Group. 20. Defence Research and Development Organisation. 21. Border Road Development Board. 22. National Security Council Secretariat Similarly, some States within the union has also exempted certain Public Authorities in the respective states, from the purview of the Act. Please check separately for each State. To read the full act visit here: http://act.rtiindia.info NOTE: Vide a gazette Notification dated 8th October 2008, one more organisation was added to the exempted list: 22. National Security Council Secretariat http://persmin.gov.in/WriteData/Circ..._6_2008_IR.pdf