RTI is a law that aims to promote transparency and integrity in government institutions. The process of its introduction was long and arduous, as it took years for RTI activists across India to call attention from politicians who were not in favor of this revolutionary Act to get passed. But, the hard work finally succeeded when the Right To Information (RTI) became law in 2005 with comprehensive support among citizens.
It is a revolutionary act that forces governments to be more transparent. Equipped with the knowledge of RTI, common people can demand any government agency furnish information they need within 30 days or else face monetary fines for failing to do so.
What is the Process of Filing an RTI?
Every Indian citizen should be well aware of how to file for an RTI. The process is not much of a hassle; all you have to do is follow the steps.
Prepare an application (written or printed) that should be drafted on a paper in any official language of the state. There are a few states that have already prescribed the format of the application. The application has to be addressed to the Public Information Officer or PIO of the concerned department. Ensure to ask questions that are complete and clear to understand. You should ensure that no question is confusing for the officer to understand.
Mention your address, name, and other details to make sure the information reaches the correct place.
Before sending the application, ensure to take a photocopy of the same for your personal records. If you are planning to send it via post then, try to send it on the registered postal address. This way, they will have an acknowledgment of the postal delivery. Even if you are going to submit the application to a PIO person, make sure they acknowledge it in writing.
Important Things you need to Know about Right to Information
PIOs are people too! If an illiterate person approaches the PIO and wants some information under RTI, they can tell their requirement to them. The officer will write it down for them then read it back before processing any application.
This way, they know exactly what is being sought and no one has trouble understanding each other. The RTI Act has empowered the common person to demand information from the government. Prior, only members of Parliament could do this, but now everyone can.
If you’re unsure about sending your RTI application by post and can’t take a day off work, don’t worry! You just need to head over to the nearest postal office. The assistant PIOs will receive applications from customers like yourself and forward them to their appropriate superior or appellate authority for review within 24 hours of receipt at any rate (or even sooner).
How to File for Right to Information (RTI) Online?
As of now, only the central government, along with a few state governments, are taking applications online.There are a multiple other websites that allow you to file for an RTI online and explain all the RTI appeal rules that apply. They will charge a very nominal fee and can help you file an RTI without any hassle.
How much Time Does it Take to Get the Response on your Application?
According to the law, the response to your application should be sent out in 30 days. However, there are times when the government can’t find the information or has misplaced it. If you are taking the help of an agency, it can be a possibility that they are having problems coordinating with the governmental bodies responsible for fetching information for them. In such cases, the time period might increase to more than 30 days. If this happens, a PIO is responsible for sending you an intimation by stating the reason for the delay and how much more time it could take for you to get your answers. If they fail to do so, PIO will be charged with a penalty, and the matter will be taken to hire authorities.
What is the Cost of the Procedure?
To file an RTI in India, you need to pay Rs. 10 as fee but those who are Below Poverty Line (BPL) do not have this requirement and can apply for information at no cost using their IPO/court stamp. The stamps are only available from post offices or through digital means like online banking apps such as Paytm.
If we want our application submitted on time with good quality of service, then it’s best if the applicant pays upfront so that he has assurance before moving ahead.
If you want copies of some records, contact the government office. They will charge Rs 2 per page for furnishing these documents, and once they receive your request to make them, they’ll send an intimation by post with details about payment arrangements (i.e., postal order/court fee stamp).
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