Right To Information Act: All you need to know about the RTI Laws In India
BY: ADITI LAKHANAPAL
“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga [i]
In spite of the fact that India has won its battle of sovereignty in 1947 making democracy its big stick, unfortunately, the fact was to some degree different. The superiority was conceded to the societal democrat, not to the common man at that juncture. There were various occurrences to inquiry the right to information since it was in practice with the framework of the society we survived in. Under the façade of red-tapism, unprofessional conduct, highhandedness, nepotism in addition to above all deep-seated corruption in the most awful and unparalleled practice increased. Right to Information was like a rain on desert as an educative measures an Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commission and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto while the Constitution of India has established democratic republic and whereas democracy necessitates an conversant electorate and transparency of facts which are essential to its operational as well as to control exploitation and to hold Administrations and their agencies held responsible. [ii]Disclosure of facts in certain practice is expected to clash with further communal interests although conserving the utmost of self-governing model, at present, hence, it is pragmatic to make available for endowing definite facts and figures to voters who yearning to have it.
Prominence of RTI
Right to Information Act 2005 has welcomed as a revolution in India’s progression as a democracy. RTI has proved to be fruitful to citizens in the following manner-
- A payment of Rupees 10 is required to acquire information on the Administration’s actions and verdicts. If application is being sent through registered post or courier, the additional cost of Rupees .10 to 25 is required. The fee of receiving the information of around five pages would be Rs. 10. Even if you supplement the postage price of getting the information the entire cost will be about 70 rupees. [iii]
- The law makes it necessary that the information has to be provided within 30 days.[iv]
- If a few thousand Citizens spend approximately Rs. 70 per month and about 60 minutes in their own house they can file a new RTI application and acquire information about matters, which concern them.[v]
- The authority of getting answerability, plummeting exploitation, impacting policy decisions in addition to safeguarding improved governance is now with us. Individually we can mark an immense role in accomplishing the Realm we want. A minor determination from our own place can bring Swaraj.
In the case of, Pradeep S. Ahluwalia v. Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation[vi], learned council held the following:-
- If the Public Information Officers, First Appellate Authorities and the Commissions allow reiterated RTI applications, at that point, there will be no termination to the ‘information litigation’ and the public powers that will be at the in receipt of end for no liability of theirs.
- Public dogma concerns that: ‘it is in the importance of the Public that there should be a culmination to litigation’ and ‘no man should be overtaxed over for the same reason’
- It is embedded from the order and the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 that every single citizen has a right to attain information from a concerned public power, but then, only once and not perpetually.
- Constant filing of RTI applications, by prolonged information-inquirers, has the influence of blockage the public offices by barricading the open flow of information to the eligible and honest RTI applicants, above and beyond precluding the officers of the concerned public authority from carrying out the responsibilities attached to their office.
Procedure of filing an RTI In India:
The necessary requisites of an application filed under the RTI Act are:
- The aspirant must be the civilian of India. .
- The request must cover the details of facts and figures required.
- The proof of payment of application fee should be hemmed in.
- The address of the aspirant should be accessible for directing a reply.
Private particulars excluding those essential for communicating an applicant are not required to be stated.
How to file an RTI plea?
The Act proposes a simple process to acquire information. Though some public authorities have their own formats, there is no obligation to stick to the prescribed set-up.
- Classify the constituent part you want information from as some matters fall under the purview of State governments or local authority such as the municipal administration/panchayat, while others are controlled by the Central government.
- Write the application by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area. You can also take the assistance of public information officer to put the application in writing.
- The application must be addressed to the State/Central Public Information Officer. Provide the name of the concerned office from where you wish to seek information, and the complete, exact address.
- Mention your request in the specified form and state the period/year your application falls into. To obtain documents, the applicant has to make a payment of Rs. 2 per page.
- Payment of Rs 10 is required to plea the request either by cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The application must bear the stamp. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) are excluded from making any sort of payment provided they attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application.
- Your full name and address, contact details, email address should be mentioned and sign the application properly.
- Send your application either by post or hand it over in person to the concerned department.
- 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 in 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.
Procedure to file RTI online
At Online RTI, lawyers hired are specialists at handing out RTIs, so you don’t have to fear about it. Basically just click on your problem, submit your application, and consider your case at the top of the government’s row.
- Only fresh application can filed online.
- The aspirant is required to mention the necessary details, by clicking on “Submit Request”.
- Once the form is duly filled then next comes the making prescribed payment either through debit/credit cards of Master/Visa or using RuPay card. Once payment is made application can be submitted.
- On successfully submission of an application, a unique registration number would be issued, to the applicant for future references.
- For the first appeal to the first Appellate Authority, the applicant is required to click at “Submit First Appeal” and then fill up the page that will appear.
- For first appeal no payment to be made.
- The applicant should provide his/her mobile number in order to receive SMS alert.
- Applicants can view the status of their first appeal by clicking at “View Status”.
This is the link for the same. https://rtionline.gov.in/
When it comes to RTI, there are ombudsmen on numerous points to safeguard the Act is tailed in letter and spirit. The Act has hired a ‘perform or perish’ approach, also setting up a instrument to give out information.
Every government organization is needed to appoint one employee as a public information officer (PIO). Once a department gets an RTI request, it is the duty of the PIO to supply the information to the candidate within 30 days. Dying to do so means, a monetary fine can be imposed on the PIO. The longer a PIO makes an applicant wait, the more the fine imposed on him/her. There have been instances where PIOs have been asked to cough up amount in thousands of rupees as fine.
Every state has an Information Commission, consist of a Chief Information Commissioner and a few information commissioners. Previous judges, IAS, IPS field marshal of perfect record are appointed to these positions by the government. Above them in the chain of command is the Central Information Commission and below them are first and second appellate authorities to see to it that an applicant does get the information he/she has requested.
Aditi Lakhanapal is a law student pursuing B.Com LL.B (Hons.) at Rayat Bahra University. She is an avid learner & researcher and is keen towards contributing to the society through her legal profession in making.