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Procedure of filing RTI – An Overview

Vedant Lakhotia
RTI as the name suggests in expanded form is “Right to Information”. This is fairly a new concept in India, in which the power has been delegated in the hands of the citizens to ask questions and get answers from public authorities. In general, all categories have been allowed except some which relate to the security of India. There are two modes by which citizens are allowed to obtain information through RTI:
  1. Offline Mode.
  2. Online Mode.
Procedure of filing RTI:
  1. Offline Mode: As the name suggests, the information so required can be sought by sending a letter to the concerned authority. The steps involved in this mode are:
  2. The first and the foremost step is “Identification of the Government and the authority from whom the information is sought.” Example: Department of Legal Affairs if there is a grievance in relation to BAR Council of India
  3. The website of the department has to be searched for getting the information of the concerned PIO or in case no website is available then research work needs to be undertaken. Ex: The website of the BAR Council of India is www.barcouncilofindia.org
  4. The next step is to send a Letter to the “Public Information Officer” of such authority / department accompanied by the name and address of the department.
  5. The subject line of the Application must state, “Information sought under RTI Act, 2005.”
  6. Enlist all points in the form of questions for which the information is sought. If specific details are required then that needs to be mentioned specifically.
  7. Ensure to mention the date on the Application and also the details of the postal order of INR 10.00/- which needs to be attached with the application. Persons who are below Poverty Line need not pay this amount. They shall be required to attach a self-attested photocopy of the BPL certificate.
  8. The application must be signed with full signature and date.
  9. The application along with all enclosures needs to be sent to the concerned PIO.
  10. The reply time is 30 days from the date of receipt of application by the concerned PIO.
  11. If there is no reply or the reply is unsatisfactory in nature then an appeal can be filed.
  12. Online Mode: As the name suggests, the information so required can be sought online from the PIO of the concerned authority. Currently the service is available against the Central Government and the Ministers including the PMO etc. Online RTI is not available fully against all the State Government. The steps involved in this procedure is:
  13. Please visit rtionline.gov.in and search for the department or authority against whom you want to file the application. There are many other third-party websites available and services can be utilized if desired.
  14. If desired then a registration form can be filled up for registration of the self at the portal. Registration will give certain added advantages like freedom from remembering the request/appeal reference number, freedom from entering the minimum details more than once etc.
  15. If not desired then, click “Submit Request” option.
  16. After that the use of the portal has to be checked which displays in the next screen.
  17. Then an online form appears which needs to be filled in. The desired details need to be entered in desired box. Example: Selection of the Ministry, selection of Public authority.
  18. If there is a mistake in selecting the appropriate government, then the application will not get rejected but the application will be moved to the correct department for their action on the same.
  19. The text or description box has a word limit. Text needs to be entered within that limit.
  20. The “Supporting file” option is to be used in case there are certain supporting documents in relation to the RTI sought. The file can be maximum uploaded of 1mb.
  21. If the person filing RTI is a BPL person then the corresponding box needs to be checked. On checking that box, the portal will not ask for any amount and the request will be processed.
  22. On successful process a reference id will be generated which is unique and can be used to track the status of the application.
  23. Otherwise, the request will not be processed until the amount if INR 10.00/- is paid. There are several options for making the payment like net banking, debit cards, credit cards etc. Mostly all types of cards can be used for making the payment.
  24. After the payment has been processed, a reference id will be generated which is unique in all cases. It can be used to track the status ofC the application.
  25. If no reply or unsatisfactory reply is received within the period of 30 days then, an appeal can be filed online.
Some of the important judgments on RTI are:
  1. Reserve Bank of India vs Jayantilal Mistry (Supreme court)
  2. Subhash Chandra Aggarwal vs Registrar General (Supreme court)
  3. Subhas Chandra Agrawal vs Officer of Attorney General (Delhi High Court)
  4. Adesh Kumar vs Union of India (Delhi High Court)
  5. Jiju Lukose vs State of Kerala (Kerala High Court)
  6. Vijay Kumar Mishra vs CBSE (Central Information Commission)
  7. N.Shukla vs Department of Justice (Central Information Commission)

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