A Concise Guide to the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI)
Right to the Information Act (RTI) was implemented in 2005. This act was passed to help people get information that they do not know in a legal manner. Many people are using this act and are obtaining useful information.Employees of the central and state governments use this act only in a very minimal way to get data related to service record, LTC and MACP. Only some people use RTI regularly. I have provided some basic information about RTI in order to encourage others to use it.
A Concise Guide to the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI)
1.1. Introduction: 1
1.2. Filing RTI Application. 1
1.3. What it costs?. 3
1.4. Where to get help in RTI related matters?. 4
1.5. How long it takes to get a response to your query?. 4
1.6. Conclusion: 4
The Right to Information is an Act of the parliament that was approved by the President of India on the 15th June, 2005. It extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The aim of RTI is to “set out a 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 Gazette of India, Part II Section I, June 21, 2005, link: http://www.iitb.ac.in/legal/RTI-Act.pdf). Another useful resource on RTI is available at http://rti.gov.in/RTICorner/Guide_2013-issue.pdf
The format, process and guidelines for filing RTI seem to differ from state to state. Relevant information can be obtained from the respective state RTI website. The Tamilnadu government’s RTI website can be accessed using http://www.tn.gov.in/rti/). Rules on filing RTI in Tamilnadu is available at http://www.rtiindia.org/guide/centrestate-rti-rules-and-fees-3/tamilnadu-right-to-information-rules-26/
To obtain information from the various Central Public Authorities of main Ministries/Departments, Indian citizens can file an RTI application using the following guidelines:
1.2. Filing RTI Application
Step 1: RTI Portal
To begin with, access the RTI portal at https://rtionline.gov.in/. If you wish, you can register in the portal. Registration is not mandatory in order to file an RTI application. Then, click on the Submit Request link in the top left of the Home page and to the right of the Home Link.
Step 2: Guidelines
A list of guidelines will be displayed for you to read and agree. After reading it carefully, click on the checkbox below to indicate that you have read and agreed to the guidelines. Then click the Submit button.
Step 3: Filling the RTI application
An Online RTI Request Form will be displayed. Fill all the columns of the form carefully. All the fields marked with a star are mandatory the other fields are optional.
a) First, in the Public Authority Details section, select the public authority from the drop down list to the right of “Select Ministry/Department/Apex body.”
b) Then, provide the following details: name, gender, phone or mobile number, address with pin code, country, state, rural or urban status, educational status, phone number or mobile number (will be used to send SMS alerts) and email id.
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c) In the Request Details section choose the citizenship, and indicate whether you are below or above the poverty line. Then, type your exact RTI Request using up to a max. of 3000 characters. You can include any supporting document if needed but the size of the document should not exceed 1MB.
d) Before clicking the Submit button type the security code as displayed on screen and verify all the details that you provided carefully. Then, click on the Submit button to send your request to the concerned authorities. (Note: Payment of fees and mode of payment is discussed in the next section.)
e) A message will be displayed saying that you have successfully filed your RTI application. The details of registration including a unique registration number will be displayed. This can be noted down or printed for future references.
An applicant can file appeal and check the status of the RTI application through this user friendly portal.
1.3. What it costs?
For Applicants who are Below Poverty Line (BPL):
The applicants can indicate whether they are below or above the poverty line in the online application form. If a citizen belongs to BPL category, he need not pay any fees (as per RTI Rules, 2012) but has to upload BPL certificate using the “Supporting document field”. The scanned copy of the BPL certificate should be in PDF format and should not exceed 1MB file size.
For Non-BPL Applicants:
If a citizen belongs to Non-BPL category, he has to make a payment of RS 10 as prescribed in the RTI Rules, 2012.
Mode of payment:
(i) Internet banking through SBI and its associated banks
(ii) Using credit/debit card of Master/Visa.
If additional fee is required, the Nodal Officer will intimate the same. Details of additional payment can be viewed by the applicant through ‘View Status’ option in the RTI Online Portal. For submitting the additional fee online, the applicant needs to use the option ‘View Status’ in the RTI Online Portal and on providing the registration number of the request, option for ‘Make Payment’ will provided.
The user manual also provides information on filing RTI appeals and complaints. We provide a link to the document below for your reference.
1.4. Where to get help in RTI related matters?
Thorough and complete guidance with pictures on filling the RTI using the portal, is available as a manual at https://rtionline.gov.in/um_citizen.pdf
There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section in the same portal which can be accessed through https://rtionline.gov.in/FAQ-RTI-Online.pdf
1.5. How long it takes to get a response to your query?
Neither the RTI site nor the user manual seems to provide any specific time frame for getting a response to the queries filed using RTI. The response time may vary depending on the nature of the information/query and the number of authorities concerned. However, applicants can always check the status of their RTI using the View Status link available on the Home page. Status of the first appeal can also be viewed using this link.
We hope that this short manual on RTI will prove useful to all those who wish to obtain information from the various central government departments/authorities. Your queries or feedback on this manual is most welcome.
If Central government employees wish to share any information that they get through RTI with others, they can email it to [email protected] The information received will be published on govetemdiary.com and can be very useful to others