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What is Information? Information is any material in any form. It includesrecords, documents, memos, e-mail, opinions, advices,press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts,reports, papers, samples, models, data material held inany electronic relating to any private body which canbe accessed by the public authority under any law forthe time being in force. A citizen has a right to seek such information form apublic authority with is held by the public authority orwitch is held under its control and even privateorganisations to some extent. This right includes inspection of work, documents andrecords; taking notes, extracts or certified copies ofdocument or records; and taking certified samples ofmaterial held by the public authority or held under thecontrol of the public authority.
Cont. A citizen has a right to obtain to aninformation in the form of diskettes,floppies, tapes, video cassettes or inany other electronic mode or throughprint-outs provided such information isalready stored in a computer or in anyother device from which theinformation may be transferred todiskettes etc.
Cont. The Act gives the right to information only tothe citizens of India. It does not makeprovision for giving information to corporation,Associations, Companies etc. which are legalentities/persons, but not citizens. However, if an application is made by anemployee or office - bearer of any Corporation,Association, Company, NGO etc. indicating hisname and such employee/office bearer is acitizen of India, information may be supplied tohim/her. In such cases, it would be presumedthat a citizen has sought information at theaddress of the Corporation etc.
RTI before Private companies Applicants have every right to seekinformation on a private company eventhough it is in the private sector, if itreports to a government body or ownedpartially/considerably by governmentbody.
NRI can also file an RTI Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005 enables NRIs and PIOsto have access to information imperative for them. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs defines RTIrights for NRIs and PIOs. As one of their basic rights, NRIs and PIOs can contactthe PGE (Protector General of Emigrants) in case ofany grievance or query. The PGE can also becontacted online at email@example.com. The Department of Post has launched electronicversion of Indian Postal Order- - eIPO -- which will helpNRIs to pay fee online for seeking information underthe RTI Act.
Requirements at the time of filingRTI An applicant, along with his application, is required to pay a sum of Rs. 10/-as application fee in case or by way of a demand draft or a banker‟s chequeor an Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the publicauthority. The applicant may also have to pay additional fee, as prescribed by theRight to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 forsupply of information as gives below: rupees two (Rs.2/-) for each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created orcopied; actual charge or cost price of a copy in Larger size paper; actual cost or price for samples or models; for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of rupee five(Rs. 5/-) for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof); for information provided in diskette or floppy rupees fifty (Rs. 50/-) perdiskette of floppy; and for information provided in printed from at the price fixed for suchpublication or rupees two par page of photocopy for extracts from thepublication.
Content and format ofApplication Write your queries in the form of a numbered list sothat the PIO can provide information in the samesequence. (This numbering should be ideallymaintained at all levels including first appeal, secondappeal, complaints, etc.) You may write as many paras or sub-paras as youwant in a single application. There is no limit to the amount of information you mayseek in a single application. The initial fee payable will remain the same. Each point/para should deal with just one piece ofinformation or work or record. You may write sub-parasor sub-points. Focus on the need for information and ask for it ina courteous manner.
Cont. Focus sharply on the purpose of seekinginformation in the first place. Frame your queries in a way that it willmake it impossible for the publicauthority to wriggle out.
Time frame for disposing off applicationSituation Time limit for disposing off applicationsSupply of information in normal course 30 daysSupply of information if it concerns the life or liberty of aperson48 daysSupply of information if the application is receivedthrough CAPIO.05 DAYS SHALL BE ADDED TO THE TIME PERIODINDICATED AT Sr. No. 1 and 2.Supply of information if application/request is receivedafter transfer from another public authority:1. In normal course2. In case the information concerns the life or liberty ofa person.1. Within 30 days of the receipt of the concerned publicauthority.2. Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by theconcerned public authority.Supply of information by organizations specified in theSecond Schedule:1. If information relates to allegations of violation ofhuman right.2. In case information relates to allegations ofcorruption.1. 45 days from the receipt of application.2. Within 30 days of the receipt of application.Supply of information if it relates to third party and thethird party has treated it as confidential.Should be provided after following the procedure given inpara 32 to 36 of these guidelines.Supply of information where the applicant is asked to payadditional fee.The period intervening between information the applicantabout additional fee and the payment of fee by theapplicant foe calculating the period of reply.
Anonymous Application If you want to seek information that mayadversely affect vested interests or maycause you financial or physical injury, youshould request your distant relative or afriend or an RTI activist from another stateto file the RTI application desired by you.Send him completed application form in hisname and address and give him directionson how to pay the fee and submit theapplication.
Recent developments The government has put a word limit of 500 wordsfor filing an application under the Right to Information(RTI) Act. Earlier, there was no word limit in seekinginformation. However, the rules said that “no application shall berejected on the ground that it contains more than fivehundred words”. According to a notification by the Department ofPersonnel and Training under the Ministry ofPersonnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, anapplicant will have to pay additional postal charges“involved in supply of information that exceeds fiftyrupees”.
Whether one can approachconsumer forum after filingRTI? It is important to understand whether thecitizen who is filing an application underthe RTI Act can be considered as aconsumer or not. If yes, can the failure to furnishinformation under RTI be considered as„deficiency in service‟ for which a citizencan approach a Consumer forum is themoot question.
Cont. In the case of Dr. S P Thirumala Rao vs. MunicipalCommissioner, Mysore City Municipal Corporation, theNational Commission held that“When a citizen seeks information through an applicationunder the RTI Act and pays the prescribed fee, hebecomes a „consumer‟ as per the CPA who has soughtcertain „service‟. The person designated as the PublicInformation Officer (PIO) under the RTI Act is held as theservice provider. If the PIO fails to provide the requestedinformation within the prescribed period of 30 days u/s7(1) of RTI Act 2005, it is deemed to be a „deficiency‟ inservice. Non-supply of information, delay in supply ofinformation or providing information which is inaccurate orincomplete would amount to deficiency in service by thepublic authority.”
Cont. By seeking compensation under the ConsumerProtection Act (CPA) 1986, there is no breach ofthe Section 23 of RTI Act which bars thejurisdiction of courts as is only an additionalremedy and does not mean to challenge the orderof the Information Commission. There is no bar from seeking remedy under CPAalong with seeking compensation under section19(8)(b) of the RTI Act. The CPA providesadditional remedy in addition to the remediesprovided under any other Acts and it is not inderogation of any provisions of law for the timebeing in force.
Conclusion- RTI needs to be filed in specific format forseeking some information and notdiscussing consumer dispute in it.- RTI can be filed against government runbodies and private bodies owned partiallyor considerably by government bodies.- After 30 days from filing of RTI if applicantdon‟t get adequate reply from PIO, then hecan approach the consumer forum.
Tip Before preparing application or appeal,one should read the rules framed by theconcerned State Government or theHigh Court. You may ask for a free copy of the„Citizens Charter‟ to be supplied with thereply.
Step by step procedure of filingan RTI http://nyayabhoomi.org/right-to-information/step-by-step-procedures