How to File an RTI?

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RTI

As a sincere and involved citizen, if you would like to know the information regarding the latest policies, changes made in the budget or any other information which is done in the public interest, we can do so, with RTI – Right to Information. This is governed by an ACT, which enables any citizen, who would like to obtain any public information they are interested in, subject to approval from the government.

The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, is crucial as it mandates timely response to a citizen’s request for any government information. The Act aims at promoting transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. The Act extends to the whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act prescribes a simple procedure to obtain information.

The right to Information, is therefore, a very valuable and crucial medium to put in queries and doubts regarding the government schemes and policies, and get answers to them too. With digitalization of RTI applications, it has become even easier and simpler to apply for information.

Now, apart from being a medium where one can share their queries and doubts, RTI is also a means of getting involved in the government policies, by taking an active part in them. However, RTI also has certain restrictions when it comes to sharing data.

There are certain information, such as military data or sensitive details relating to the safety of the nation, which cannot be obtained from RTI website.

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Say, for example, if you would like to know the number of troops posted in Siachen or how the border is secured, even if it might only be out of curiosity, these cannot be shared with public. The RTI is a powerful tool, and hence, needs to safeguard their interests against any anti-national elements wanting to disrupt the harmony of the country. That is why, certain restrictions are placed, and come into effect, if anyone ventures in obtaining sensitive details on its portal.

The details of what all are restricted, and what are not, can be obtained from the official website.

Filing an RTI application is all the more easier with the online application form. However, remember that you need to address your query to the appropriate authority to get the information. The portal has a detailed instructions regarding the concerned authorities and whom to address on what issues.

The below mentioned steps can aid in putting forth an online RTI application form.

Steps for Filing an RTI

RTI requests can be obtained from the RTI portal. Click on ‘Submit request’ to download the application form from the home page of the RTI portal.

Click on to agree to the conditions set, to download the application. Now, you can start filling the online RTI application form.

In case you would like to apply offline, you can do so by filling the details in a blank paper, and by addressing it to the suitable ministry.

Step 1:

Identify the department/ministry to which you want to address your concerns. Some subjects fall under the purview of State governments or local authority, such as the municipal administration/Panchayat, while others are handled by the Central government. Thoroughly check the websites before clicking on the appropriate authority. The search bar on the top panel will help you in identifying the correct authority to raise your concerns.

For offline applications too, relevant information regarding the ministry involved can be sought from the website.

Step 2: On a sheet of white paper (if the application is to be submitted offline) or on the page provided (Text for RTI application), write out the application by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area.

The request should not exceed more than 3000 words and should precisely state what you are looking for, from the authorities. You can attach any document of size 1 MB (in case of online application) or with the hand written form.

Step 3:

Submit the online application form after identifying the ‘Verification code’ generated by the site. Once you have submitted the application form with the relevant fees, a ‘Unique registration number’ will be generated by the site. This number will be sent to your registered mobile number via SMS and Email too, if an email id is provided.

You can use this code to check the status of your RTI application on the RTI website.

For off-line applications:

  • Address the application to the State/Central Public Information Officer. Write the name of the office from which you seek information, and the complete, correct address. Clearly mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005’ in your subject line.

State your request in the form of specific, detailed questions, and mention the period/year your request falls into. Ask for documents or extracts of documents, if required. To obtain documents, the applicant has to make a payment of Rs. 2 per page. Pay Rs. 10 to file the plea. This can be done in the form of cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The stamp should be affixed to the application. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) need not make the payment but have to attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application.

  • The offline applications for RTI filing needs to be filled with all relevant details (which have already done in the case of filing it online, since the initial form asks for all details) Provide your full name and address, contact details, email address and sign the application clearly. Put in the date and the name of your town.
  • Take a photocopy of the application and keep one with you for future reference. Send your application by post or hand it in person to the department concerned. Do not forget to get an acknowledgement.

Step 8: The law mandates that information be provided in 30 days. If this does not happen, you can file an appeal. (Online applicants can check the status through the RTI website, as mentioned earlier) 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 lies with the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission.

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