On supply of false or inadequate information by a PIO, a First Appeal may be filed within 30 days from the date of receipt of response from the PIO.
Details of First Appellate Authority (FAA), who is an officer higher in rank than the PIO, can be found in the response letter from PIO itself.
The same could also be searched on website (RTI link) of Public Authority for FAA details; or by telephoning the Public Authority in that regard; or the RTI notice board of the PIO's office. The Applicant may also address first appeal as “The First Appellate Authority under RTI, Office of ____, and send it to the address of PIO. First Appeal may also be submitted to Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) for onward submission to FAA.
The following documents are to be attached with First Appeal:
1. Self attested photo copy of RTI application;
2. Self attested copy of response of PIO (if any);
3. Supporting documents (if any)
The Central Government prescribes no fee or specific format for First Appeal; however, certain states do and the same could be found in RTI Rules of the respective states.
First Appeal must be disposed of within 30 days.
If dissatisfied by the decision of the First Appellate Authority, you could file a Second Appeal, within 90 days from the date on which the decision should have been made or within 90 days of receipt of decision of the First Appellate Authority. The same is filed before the Central or State Information Commissioner as the case may be, which may admit the appeal even beyond 90 days if satisfied with the cause of delay.
Guidelines for attachments to Second Appeal:
1. RTI application, CPIO's response, First Appeal, FAA's response, Second Appeal/complaint must be attached.
2. Attachments shouldn’t exceed 2mb each (if submitted online).
3. Files could be in pdf, jpg and gif format (in online submissions).
All communication with the Central/State Information Commission shall be in Hindi or English language only. However, in case of any other language, it is the duty of the Appellant to provide a translation along-with.
As per your query regarding approaching High Court, you could file a writ petition to the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution if you’re dissatisfied with the decision of the Second Appellate Authority as well.
The High Court would issue directions to the concerned authority to do the needful. If still dissatisfied, you could resort to the Supreme Court.
With respect to your 3rd query, no, a PIO cannot be charged under section 177 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 177 can be invoked when false information is furnished to a public servant and not when the same is furnished by a public servant. However, the State or Central Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to impose penalties under section 20 of the Right to Information Act on a PIO furnishing false information.