What is 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:
  1. Inspect works, documents, records.
  2. Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
  3. Take certified samples of material.
  4. Obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video , cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts.

"information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.

"record" includes:

a) Any document, manuscript and file
b) Any microfilm, microfiche, and facsimile copy of a document
c) Any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and
d) Any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

An applicant cannot ask for opinions/advice/views under the RTI Act, unless the opinion/advice/view is already on "record".

However, under Section 4(1)(d), an applicant can ask for "reasons" behind a administrative or quasi judicial decision of a public authority, especially if he is a "affected person".

Who can ask for information under Right to Information?

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.

How to write an RTI Application?

Public Authorities under the centre, states, legislatures and Supreme/High courts have framed separate rules for RTI. The amount of fees and the mode of payment varies and you should check the correct rules as applicable in your case.

Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:
Application Guidelines:
While filing an RTI application, the framing of the questions is very important. A slight misunderstanding or vague questions gives the PIO a chance to reject your application. Follow these guidelines:

How to submit a RTI 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:
Do not use ordinary post, private courier companies, etc. since these will not provide you with a confirmed proof of delivery.

Designated Post Offices:

In order to facilitate citizens in filing RTI applications, the government has designated certain Post Offices for accepting RTI applications addressed to Public Authorities (PA's) under Central Government. These cannot be used for submitting RTI Applications addressed to State PA's, Legislatures, Courts, etc.

A list of designated Post Offices is available here:


Download the Sample RTI Application

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The sample application for Income Tax Refund


  1. You should get refund order maximum within 12 months from end of financial year in which I.T. return is filed
  2. If you do not get refund as above submit by regd. ad post letter as per annexure A. with its enclosures.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Retain photocopy of all papers sent to IT Dept. for future reference.
  7. Concerned Income Tax Assessing Officer is the CPIO of the ward.
  8. You can visit www.incometaxindia.gov.in for guidance.
  9. U can also refer the matter to Income Tax Ombudsman, details of which are on website mentioned at 8 above.
10. Please also try https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/oltas/refundstatuslogin.html

Our experience shows that in most of the cases, only RTI application or indication that RTI application will follow, yields the result.

Your follow-up as above will benefit you and also improve the system of the dept so that other assesses will also get refunds in time.

All the good luck to you.

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The sample application for Passport Status


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.
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The sample application for Provident Fund

There 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


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.
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What is the time limits under which you will get the information?

  • 3rd Party can be anyone other than the citizen applying for information
  • Please account for adequate time for postal delays
Various time limit has been prescribed under which the information can be obtained under Right to Information Act. These time limits are prescribed by the Act itself, and failing which an RTI Applicant can approach appropriate authorities for relief.

Following are the various time limits specified in the RTI Act 2005

For matters involving "Life and Liberty", the time limit for the PIO to provide information is 48 Hours.

For PIO to reply to application
30 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to transfer to another PA under Sec 6(3)
5 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to issue notice to 3rd Party
5 days from date of receipt of application
For 3rd Party to make a representation to PIO
10 days from receipt of notice from PIO
For PIO to reply to application if 3rd Party involved
40 days from date of receipt of application
For applicant to make First Appeal
30 days from date of receipt of PIO’s reply or from date when reply was to be received
For First Appellate Authority to pass an order
30 days from receipt of First Appeal OR
Maximum 45 days, if reasons for delay are given in writing
For applicant to make Second Appeal before CIC/SIC
90 days from receipt of First Appeal orders or from the date when orders were to be received
For CIC/SIC to decide Second Appeal
No time limit specified

How to write First Appeal under RTI?

13 Simple Guidelines to follow while filing 1st Appeal under Right to Information Act 2005.
  1. First appeal has to be filed within 30 days from date of receipt of decision of CPIO by the applicant with First Appellate Authority (FAA).
  2. If no reply is received within 30 days (35 days if application is lodged with ACPIO) from the date of receipt by CPIO (ACPIO), then first appeal has to be filed within 30 days from the date when reply was due from CPIO.
  3. Find out name, designation and address of first appellate authority from the decision letter of CPIO. If no reply is received, visit the web-site of the govt. dept/office/undertaking and refer RTI icon for these details.
  4. Despite above efforts, if you are not in a position to locate details of FAA, address your first appeal as under:
    The First Appellate Authority under RTI Act 2005
    Head of _______________Dept/office
    and mention address of CPIO’s dept/office
  5. If you want to be present during the first appeal hearing, mention it at the end of your appeal.
  6. No fee is prescribed for first appeal for Public Authorities under the Central Government.
  7. Some States have a prescribed fee and a specified format for First Appeal. Please check RTI Rules of individual Sates regarding First Appeal fees (if any), mode of payment, format (if any) if your First Appeal is to a Public Authority falling under State Government. Please visit www.rti.gov.in for details of various states.
  8. All photocopies of enclosures mentioned in the appeal should be self-attested by the applicant under the word ‘Attested’ and full signature.
  9. Retain one set of appeal and postal receipt and AD receipt.
  10. You can deliver personally also, but mailing by registered ad/speed post is preferable. Couriers should be avoided.
  11. FAA has to decide on the appeal within 30 days from the date of receipt of first appeal. He can take a further 15 days (total 45 days), provided he gives the reasons for the delay in writing.
  12. The FAA can give either a "spoken" order or a written order.
  13. Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued specific instructions to FAA's.

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How to File a Second Appeal under RTI?

Kindly follow these guidelines for filling Second Appeal at Central Information Commission.

  1. 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”
  2. Get it typed in double space.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Prepare additional four sets as above by photocopying.
  6. Sign each page of appeal, index and chronology chart [all five sets].
  7. Self attest all the photocopies by signing under the word “Attested”
  8. 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.
  9. Mail original set and one extra copy of set by registered AD to the commission at the following address:
    The Registrar,
    II floor, August Kranti Bhavan,
    Bhikaji Kama Place,
    NEW DELHI 110066
  10. Avoid courier services.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. You can consult local NGO/RTI activist for filing first or second appeal to have better result. Services are generally free.

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How to make a 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
  1. No PIO or APIO or FAA is appointed by public authority.
  2. PIO/APIO/FAA has refused to receive application/appeal.
  3. No reply is received from PIO & FAA within time limit fixed by the act.
  4. Reply received from PIO is unsatisfactory, irrelevant, unreadable, misleading, unclear, false, incomplete etc.
  5. Information has been wrongly and unjustifiably refused.
  6. When applicant is required to pay fee/charges in excess of those prescribed in RTI rules applicable.
  7. PIO/APIO is not accessible in person or by post and his whereabouts are not easily available/prominently exhibited.
  8. Proactive disclosure under section 4 [1] has not been made or it is not made publicly available/accessible.
  9. PIO/FAA has wrongly refused inspection of records of public authority or reasonable cooperation is not extended during inspection.
  10. 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.
  11. PIO/FAA disobeys orders of CIC/SIC.
  12. Any other situation where the citizen has been wrongly restrained/refused access to information to which he is entitled under the act.
  13. Any other violation of provisions of the act by public authority, PIO or FAA.
How to lodge complaint
  1. 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.
  2. 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,
  3. CIC does not charge any fee for complaints. Some SICs charge fees for this purpose.
  4. 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.
  5. Send copy of complaint to PIO/FAA simultaneous with CIC/SIC. At times PIO/FAA solves your problem before hearing at CIC/SIC.
  6. Ask for punishment to PIO/FAA under the act and also claim compensation for not getting the information in time.
  7. Information Commissions are vested with powers of Civil Courts in respect of summoning, enforcing attendance, giving evidence on oath, producing records, etc.
  8. Complaint is in addition to Second/final Appeal available to applicants.
  9. 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.
  10. After lodging complaint, please check from concerned website if the same is registered and registration number and status.
  11. 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.
  12. CIC/SICs are flooded with appeals/complaints and there is huge pendency. Thus it may take 12 to 36 months before complaint is heard.
  13. 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.

From Which organization of Government I cannot get Information?

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