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Seven surprising tips for writing good RTI applications

These tips, I found on the net, r very good.

1) A good RTI application as boring as a laundry list. It is a bare list of items of information WITHOUT ANY reasoning. If the first draft of RTI application is interesting to read, something is wrong. Make corrections by deleting the interesting material, such as logical threads of reasoning and justification. Your RTI application MUST NOT disclose the overall nature of the problem in your mind. It MUST NOT give a glimpse of what you intend to do with the requested information e.g. register police complaints, approach investigating agencies, file a PIL etc. Also, your RTI application MUST NOT indicate how badly you want the information, and therefore, please don’t mention anything such as “I am a senior citizen dependent on my pension cheques, and I have been pushed from pillar-to-post in search of this information.” 

2) A good RTI application is short and childishly simple for the PIO to fulfill. On the other hand, a badly-drafted RTI application is like a huge challenge to the PIO, virtually saying “I dare you to try and answer all these questions.” Put yourselves in the shoes of the PIO; what would you do if you see a lengthy RTI application that asks endless questions and supplementary questions? I would endlessly postpone looking at the application, and then go out of my way to justify the delay or denial. Wouldn’t you?

3) If you need a lot of information, write many small RTI applications. A single lengthy application may scare and overwhelm the PIO, and tempt him to throw it into his drawer. He will hesitate and postpone searching for the information. Instead, send a small, manageable RTI application with only 3-4 questions. Then, after you receive a reply to that, send another one… and another. This strategy also has another advantage: If the PIO fails to answer more than one of these applications, he feels the threat of being eligible to a larger fine (Rs 250 x days of delay x no. of unanswered RTI applications) Even if he escapes penalty after denying information to one application, there is always the recurring chance that other pending applications will get him penalized or reprimanded.

4) Keep the period of information minimal. Don’t be over-ambitious. For an RTI applicant, it is very easy to write a question like, “Give copies of all gun licenses issued from January 1981 till date.” For the PIO, this means searching 30 years of files and records. Older files may have been put into basements or buried under tons of old dusty files. Therefore, please ask yourself whether you REALLY need data that is so old, or whether you are just trying to satisfy an academic curiosity. Don’t request 30 years data if five years data will suffice for your purposes. Don’t ask for five years data if six months data is sufficient.

5) Crime-fighting RTI application? Ask for plenty of unnecessary data to misdirect mala-fide PIO. (Of course this contradicts earlier points… but there is method in the madness.) Suppose you want the details of a certain building that you suspect has built-up area in excess of permissions. To confirm your suspicions and file a complaint, you need to ask for the approved floor plan, Occupation Certificate etc. You rightly fear that if you make a direct request, corrupt officials of the Building Permissions department will deny, delay endlessly and argue that the files are lost. Question: how to improve your chances of quickly getting these key documents? Answer: Generally ask for inspection of entire files of five other unrelated buildings in your neighborhood. Include the name of this particular building in a random and casual way. When you go for inspection with 4-5 others, do not show any special interest of this particular building, and request photocopies of similar and unnecessary documents along with what you really want. Of course you will spend hundreds of rupees on xeroxing unnecessary documents, but as you will get the necessary documents without delays and appeals, it is worth it!

6) You are a citizen, not an investigating agency. You don’t have to substantiate every allegation. File complaint first, RTIs later. Sometimes, we hesitate before leveling allegations and writing complaints. Our sense of fairness compels us to get into fact-finding by filing an RTI application first. That is not necessary. You are an alert citizen and not an expert; your first duty is to register a complaint! Let the investigating agency guys do their job and earn their salaries. Later on, you may optionally write an RTI application to uncover facts and documents… but that is your second step, not first. As the cowboys say, “Shoot first and ask questions later.”

7) Don’t shoot your first draft; first drafts are always faulty. After you have written down your first draft of RTI application (or complaint or anything else), let it cool down in your drawer for a couple of days. Then take a re-look and think about making improvements. Ask a friend or colleague to have a look and give you suggestions.


 13 Replies

mahendrakumar (marketing)     12 September 2010

very good observations,keep it up

1 Like

Uma parameswaran (lawyer)     12 September 2010

Good information .Thank you.

1 Like

Isaac Gabriel (Advocate)     13 September 2010

The Right to Information Act was introduced with much fanfare.But the officals and the bureaucratics have determined to kill it at anycost. Recently we had to read the bad news of the murder of an RTI activist. My experience is little bit funny. When  asked for the name of of a head of department, the Public Information officer replied it was not permissible under the Act. My first appeal and second appeal to the Information Commission too met the same fate.It is of verylittle use to the citizensIt has further enabled the michievous elements to identify the whislte bower and threaten him.


A few more things to add, Mahender Ji-----


PIO give reply  on 30th day only even to the RTI applications,which can be replied  in a single day.


So I suggest some  measures so that we can receive replies earlier than  30 days i.e. in one or two weeks??

We should add in our applications.

Kindly provide the each and every movement details of this RTI application till its disposal.

Kindly provide the provision of punishment available for officials deliberately delaying the disposal of matter.


 Please get me the certified copy of the Office Note through which the application was dealt and 

the name and designation of all the officials/officer who were involved in the process of preparing and supplying the information.


























A few more things to add Uma Ji-------





RTI officials are hell-bent on  evading/delaying answers of  RTI application.

 So here are some suggestions so that they may not get such chances.


Write in your RTI application that you are seeking info under RTI act 2005, otherwise they may say that the info was not sought under RTI Act and waste you 30 days (Believe me even the replies which they could be given in a single day would be given on 29th/30th day only).


If you feel that PIO may demand more money for photocopies etc. then always send two applications --one with Rs.10/- and one with more than Rs.10/- say Rs. 40/50/100/-because if you send  application with Rs.10/- only PIO would waste your 30 days and ask you to deposit Rs.20/30/40 /-- for photocopies etc. and  if you send more than Rs. 10/- PIO may return you application after 30 days asking you to send Rs.10/- only and giving some reason ( reasonable or unreasonable/legal or illegal) that more than Rs.10/- can not deposited with RTI application. Hence the suggestion of sending an application with Rs.10/- and another with more than Rs.10/-.


If you are not 100% sure that to whom the postal order be addressed then send blank IPO but fill the column where sender’s name and address is to be written. Now postal clerk may resist that postal order be filled, explain him this clause, I assure you with my experience blank IPO can be received by PIOoffice. Why it should be done because if you send IPO in the name of someone whom you fill is the right person to whom the IPO is to be sent but according to PIO office that is not the right person,PIO will send back your RTI after 28 days asking you to send a fresh application with IPO’s in the name of right person. If you will send a blank IPO ,you may snatch a chance from PIO of delaying reply off your RTI..


Attach each and every relevant document with your RTI application but give the details of attachments in the application also.


If your RTI application consists of more than one page, get stamped receiving on each page separately by the counter clerk .Post office clerks do this easily but PIO office clerks don’t do this at all as per my experience so why not send one set of RTI through post office and another directly to the PIO office. Because the applications sent directly to the PIO office take 5 less days in getting replies than the applications sent through post offices. So to decrease 5 days approach PIO office directly but if you do not get proper receiving on each page of your application (as is expected) approach post office also. Use both options.


PIO's are in the habit of replying that record of the info sought is not available so to disarm them before handedly include these lines in the application written here below: ------------


            1. What is the retention period of record?


2. Under which rule the record has been destroyed, if it was?


3. If the record is untraceable, who are the Officials responsible for not maintaining it?



Also incorporate these two paragraphs to get better results: ----------


1. If you can not give the whole information demanded by me, please give a part of the information which can be given according to section10 the RTI Act 2005. Section 10 of the Act allows those part(s) of the record which are not exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from parts containing exempt information to be provided.



2. If the information sought by me can not be given to me please give me the certified copies of the laws/bylaws/order/circular etc. under which such information is forbidden to the public.



I have written whatsoever little mine experience is, plz. contribute to enlighten me and other readers also.

While sending blank Postal order include these lines in your RTI-application

I am not aware of the payee details. Kindly fill the appropriate details in IPO #                       worth Rs......./-(Rs.............. only) as it is the duty of PIO to provide reasonable assistance under 5 (3) of the RTI act to applicant.

Also include these lines to get answers of PIO more answerable

Whatsoever information you would provide me on paper, that paper should be duly signed and clearly stamped by some competent authority. If you use the backside of that paper for providing me the information, please get that side also duly signed and clearly stamped by some competent authority.






Also consult-----





Mr Isaac a few more things to add---Not by me but Anu--




Right To Information

State wise Websites and their RTI links



State Name

Web Site

RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link


Andaman And Nicobar


RTI Link


PIO Link


Andhra Pradesh


RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link


Arunachal Pradesh



SIC Link

PIO Link





SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link


PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link


PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link





SIC Link

PIO Link





SIC Link

PIO Link


Himachal Pradesh


RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link


Jammu And Kashmir






RTI Link


PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link


PIO Link


Madhya Pradesh


RTI Link

SIC Link





RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link








RTI Link


PIO Link








RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link


PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link




RTI Link


PIO Link


Uttar Pradesh


RTI Link

SIC Link






SIC Link

PIO Link


West Bengal


RTI Link

SIC Link

PIO Link


Some thing more to add,not by but Mr.D Arun





RTO template - For info. from Public Servant in 48 Hrs. [life and liberty clause] useful template to Husbands hit by S. 498a IPC and other gender biased Laws.

Date:  xx /xx / xxxx

Public Information Officer
Police Headquarters,

Sub:- Request for information under Section 6 & 7 of RTI Act 2005 within 48 hrs. regarding file movement in Delhi Police vide no. xxxxxxxx


It is submitted that xxx letters were issued by the xxxxxxxxxx vide no. xxxxxxxxx dated xx/xx/xxxx asking for the para / point vise reply to the rejoinder submitted by the applicant. The subsequent reminder vide dated xx / xx / xxxx and then again on xx / xx / xxxx (Annexure 1) were sent to DCP / HQ, Delhi, when no report was furnished within prescribed time duration by the office of DCP / HQ, Delhi to office of xxxxx, Delhi.

It is further submitted that when the applicant personally approached the office of DCP / HQ on xx/xx/xxxx, he was directed to contact the O/o Joint C.P., xxxxx, and from there it was stated that the file is sent to O/o Joint C.P. Southern Range. When the applicant approached the O/o Joint. C.P., xxxxxxxxxx, it was learnt that aforementioned file has been sent to DCP/xxxx and the reply is awaited.

It appears from the aforementioned facts that the concerned offices / officers / staff of Delhi Police has no honor and regard for the directions of Hon’ble Commissions, instituted vide the provisions of Constitution of India and hence causing intentional / deliberate delay in right to justice and hence the life and liberty of the applicant is being held at stake in the hands of concerned dealing officials.

It is therefore requested that the following information U/s 6 & 7 of RTI Act 2005 may kindly be furnished :-

1. Kindly provide the certified copies of all letters issued by the concerned offices of Delhi Police in respect of movement of file in matter vide no. xxxxxxxxxxx.

 Kindly provide the justified reason as on record for forwarding the file to the concerned Office/Officer of Delhi Police with the specific para/point nos. of the aforementioned file, because it is apprehended that the aforementioned file is being sent to un-concerned offices for causing deliberate/intentional delay in adjudication of matter.

3. Kindly provide the reason for transferring the file to the O/o DCP/xxxx Distt., by the concerned staff/officer of office of Joint C.P. xxxxx Range, when there is no point related to xxxx Distt. existed in the Rejoinder submitted by the applicant.

4. Kindly intimate the reason as on record for sending the file to different offices / districts when the same can be enquired as per provisions of Ssection 178 of Cr.P.C.

5. Kindly provide the duration in days within which the reply/report to be dispatched in such matters by the concerned office.

6. Kindly provide the certified copy of all Diary Dispatch numbers through which the aforementioned file is moved from one office to another till the file is sent to NCSC, Delhi or till the disposal of this RTI Application, whichever is earlier.

7. Kindly provide the name, rank and belt number, offices of all the officials including clerical staff, who dealt with the aforementioned file till the disposal of this RTI Application.

8. Kindly provide the provision of punishment available for officials deliberately delaying the disposal of matter.

9. Kindly provide details from records the action taken on officials if any, found causing deliberate, negligent delay of the matter by transferring the aforementioned file to office of no concerned.

10. Kindly provide the each and every movement details of this RTI application till its disposal.

The Postal Order no. xxxxxx is attached herewith as requisite fee under RTI Act 2005. The requisite information shall be furnished within 48 hrs as per Section 7(1) or RTI Act 2005 as the information also concerns life and liberty as applicable vide Article 21 of Constitution of India being applicant in arrest as per records of P.S. xxxxxx in FIR No. xxx/xxxx. In this regard reference is in case of Sheela Barse V. State of Maharashtra AIR 1983 SC 378 where it was held as follows :-

"The operation of Art. 21, insofar as it imposes procedural limitation on a law that effects personal liberty, commences as soon as interference with personal liberty commences and ends only when that interference ceases. Hence, this article becomes relevant as soon a person is arrested, and it remains relevant so long as he remains subject to a criminal prosecution that has resulted or might result in the deprivation of his personal liberty."

The information shall be supplied free of charge in compliance of section 7(6) or RTI Act 2005 in case of delay of more than 48 Hrs. desk to addresse please note.

Annexure 1:- Copy of letter dated xx/xx/xxxx from xxxxxx,

D. Arun Kumar, New Delhi

1 Like

hi tushar i hv gone thru ur almost topics n like to say all r marvelous n like 2 c more. keep going on

Hi tushar i like to discus my personal case in PMs but not getting your id. how to get it done

Gagan Souri (A M)     26 October 2010

Hi thushar good, keep it up



GIRISH BAPAT (SELF EMPLOYED)     14 February 2011

Very nice articles ,


Girish Bapat

R.K.Gupta (Councilor)     19 November 2013

Tushar Ji, Really doing well. Kindly provide your email ID to discus personal case.



am an NRI - filed a RTI with a national bank in india by sending an email directly to the PIO.  got the reply and not satisfied with the response....most of the replies were a YES/NO..and the PIO deliberately delayed it till 30th day for this...want to file a first appeal..

1. can i send it by email to the first appellate authority..how to get the email id of the first appellate authority for that nationalized bank?the reply from PIO has only the physical address of the first appellate.

2. can i file the first appeal through RTIONLINE website. is it true that i can only file first appeal at RTIONLINE website if my initial RTI is filed through RTIONLINE website.other wise it is asking for a registration number to enter for filing the first appeal?

am stuck with this first appeal process.kindly clarify and advise


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