How to draft an effective RTI in India?

INTRODUCTION:

Right to Information Act, 2005, is a social legislation which entrust the citizen of India or an Indian origin Foreigner to seek information from the Public Authorities. The information sought for have to be provided within 30 days from the date of receiving of the communication by the Public Authority. However the Public Information Officer is bound to provide information within 48 hrs of receiving of the communication if the information is related with the life or liberty of a person. This can be referred under section 7 (1)[1] along with Section 4[2] of the RTI Act 2005.

The information sought for under the Right to Information Act, may be made through a simple application in a white paper while attaching Rs 10 Indian Postal Order or Demand Draft or Banker's Cheque as its fees. The best option is to choose the Indian Postal Order because for its simplicity and convenience. If the information seeker wants an extract of a photo copy or otherwise, he/she needs to pay an extra charge. The Supreme Court of India has in its Judgement in a Writ petition (Civil) No. 194 of 2012 between Common Cause Petitioner(s) vs. High Court of Allahabad & Anr.[3] has directed the Government Authorities to maximize the RTI application fee at Rs 50/- and the fee for photocopying documents will be Rs 5/- per page.

POINTS TO BE KEPT IN MIND BEFORE DRAFTING A RTI:

Find the Address of the concerned authority: In this google era finding address of the authority is not a big issue, but in some of the cases we may be confused with the concerned Public Information Officer. In that case the section 6 clause 3 sub-clause ii of the RTI Act, 2005 plays a very important role. It provide that if the RTI matter is not related with the concerned Public Information Officer, then by virtue of section 6 clause 3 sub-clause ii, the P.I.O is ought to transfer the RTI application to the related concerned office of the P.I.O[4].

In a RTI application we cannot write for an explanation of delay else the P.I.O can easily escape to provide the requisite information on the ground that the RTI applicant has acted beyond scope. And any further appeal also the RTI applicant cannot sustained too!

The RTI applicant should not forget that the motive is to extract information and not to indulge in any emotional game. The contents of the RTI application should be concise, short and easier language. The RTI applicant should also avoid usage of unnecessary jargons in the RTI application.

The RTI applicant should not forget to mention his/her mailing address so that the P.I.O can send him/her the necessary feedback. It will be better to mention the mobile number of the RTI applicant because many times the post man unable to find the address and may prefer to call the addressee to reach his/her place suitably.

It is absolutely not necessary that the RTI applicant need to mention his/her reason for seeking the information under the RTI Act.

It is necessary to enclose the Indian Postal Order of Rs. 10 with the RTI application letter. The Indian Postal Order may be drawn in favour of the Public Information Officer payable at (concerned location). Though is always advisable to search for more authentic information from the concerned Public authority website.

 A citizen of India or an Indian origin can do seek information from the P.I.O under the RTI Act.

If the information sought for is related to the Central Government, then is viable to seek information from the online website. The online website for this purpose is https://rtionline.gov.in/. It may sometimes happen that while making the RTI application in this website the system may show error while submitting, in that case the RTI applicant can draft the entire RTI in a word file, then save it to a PDF format and then can upload it in “Supporting Document” where there is upload option. In any further problem, the RTI applicant may call at 011-24622461 in the normal working hours or can write at helprtionline-dopt@nic.in.

FORMAT FOR FILING A RTI:

To                                                                                                                   Date -

The Public Information Officer,
Under The Right to Information Act,

(Address of the Concern)

Subject: Request for Information under section 6 read with section 4 of the Right to Information Act 2005. Or
Subject: Request for Information within 48 hrs as mandated under Section 7 (1) read along with Section 4 of the RTI Act 2005.

Sir,

I Sri/Smt. (Name of the RTI Applicant) Son of (Father's Name, also can mentions Mother's Name too, there is no hard and fast rule though!), resident of (Address of the RTI Applicant), wish to seek information as under:-

Or

I Sri/Smt. (Name of the RTI Applicant) Son of (Father's Name, also can mentions Mother's Name too, there is no hard and fast rule though!), resident of (Address of the RTI Applicant). Whereby the below Information sought is related to the life or liberty of a/the person/s and the same may please be provided within 48 HOURS of the receipt of the request in PERSON/SPEED POST to my address mentioned in the end of this RTI application.

  1. Please share the information on ......
  2. Please share the related Photo Copies in this regard.

The information as sought above may please be provided on my request will also enable me to understand and appreciate the functioning and governance of your office.

Or

This Is a Matter Related of Life and Liberty and thus need reply within 48 Hrs. because of the following reasons: -

1.
2.
3.

I hereby inform that following formalities have been completed by me:

  1. That I have deposited the requisite fee of Rs10/-  (The official fees for RTI application) by way Postal Order numbered ............ dated............. drawn in favour of the Public Information Officer payable at .............
  2. I need the photocopy of the documents and I had deposited the cost of the photocopy of Rs. 10/- for _____ (Number of Pages) and undertake to pay such other official fee, if required.
  3. That I am 'Citizen' of India and I am asking the information as a 'Citizen' of the Sovereign India.
  4. That on invoking the section 6 clause 3 sub-clause ii of the Right to information Act 2005, if the subject matter asked in this RTI application to the Public Information Officer, the concerned subject matter is closely connected to another public authority and may not related to you, please transfer this RTI application to the appropriate authority within 5 days from the date of receiving of this RTI application.
  5. That all the information sought in this RTI application, will not disproportionately divert the resources of the Public authority or is detrimental to safety or preservation of the record in question.
  6. That the information sought in the RTI has not fallen under the exception of section 9 of the RTI Act, 2005.
  7. I assure that I shall not allow/ cause to use/ pass/share/display/ or circulate the information received in any case and under any circumstances, with any person or in any manner which would be detrimental to the Unity and Sovereignty or against the Interest of India.

Signature of the Applicant Dated:
All the correspondence can be made in the below provided address: -
Name
Address

 

Pradipta Nath 
on 23 April 2018
Published in Legal Documents
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