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An act which came in force in 2005 not remained an act, rather became a revolution. And the act is Right to Information Act, 2005. This act is a sincere step taken by UPA – I in its Aim to bring transparency in Government Functioning, which is making a Mockery of itself with its 2nd Innings.

In the recent times RTI has proven its worth. People have sincerely and effectively used their new right given by constitution to get the Information in correct form and right time. In recent past, in every revelation of scam there has been an inevitable role of RTI. Whether it is 2G scam or Adarsh society scam RTI has shown its power. With a nominal fee of Rs. 10 any one can get piece of information from any public information provided it’s not exempted.

Now the question is what RTI is and how we can use it?

Who are concerned officers and which kind of information we can obtain from the public authorities?

There are so many similar types of questions arise in the mind of people.

An attempt is made to aware people about the RTI through article. As per the captioned heading of article, it deals with general awareness.

New right introduced by Govt. in 2005 is “Right To Information”.

“The Right to Information Act, 2005 was passed by the parliament of India in May, 2005 and came in to effect on October 12th 2005”

1.  What is the need of RTI?

Every citizen has a right to know how the Government is functioning. Right to Information empowers every citizen to seek any information from the Government, inspect any Government documents and seek certified photocopies thereof. Some laws on Right to Information also empower citizens to official inspect any Government work or to take sample of material used in any work.

Before the introduction of RTI there were the bodies which were there to bring the transparency in government departments like PUBLIC GRIEVANCE COMMISSION & OMBUDSMAN

These acts were not as much as effective as RTI because in these acts there was no Accountability on the part of concerned officials. But now under RTI act 2005, there is accountability on the part of Govt. officials. It is their legal obligation  to respond to the applications made within a period of 30 days otherwise they are liable to pay a fine of Rs.100 per day subject to a maximum of Rs.25,000/-.  

2.  Let’s Understand RTI

"Right To Information" means the access to any information under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to—

a. Inspection of work, documents, records;

b. Taking notes extracts or certified copies of documents or records;

c. Taking certified samples of material;

d. Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;

Right to Information Act 2005 mandates:-

a. Timely response to citizen requests for government information.

b. Providing the citizens quick search of information

c. Access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments.

Motive

To promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Applicability

It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

From whom can you seek information?

Information can be demanded from Public Authorities. Where Public authorities are authorities or body or institution:

a) Which is established or constituted

a. By or under constitution.

b. By law made by Parliament or State legislature.

b) Owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly—

a. By the Central Government or the Union territory administration.

b. By the State Government.

3. HOW TO FILE AN APPLICATION UNDER RTI ACT 2005?

Anyone can file application for seeking information under RTI ACT 2005 by writing the application on a simple paper or in printed form addressing the “Public Information Officer”.

And the applicant has to deposit nominal fees of Rs.10 in cash or through postal order of Rs.10 / 50. One can file application either manually or by post.

While paying fees through postal order, take care of following:

· Fees are paid to pay and accounts officer of concerned department, not to PIO. So remember always write pay and accounts officer on postal order.

· Always detach acknowledgement of postal order and retain it with you.

· Always write postal order no. in letter to avoid confusion.

If the Public Information Officer does not respond to the application filed, then the applicant can go to the First Appellate Public Information Officer, Second Appellate Public Information Officer and then to the Information Commissioner respectively.

An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.

Hierarchy of Concerned Officers (Downwards)

1. Public Information Officer

2. First Appellate Public Information Officer – Within department – In case the applicant is aggrieved with decision of Public Information officer he can appeal to First APIO within 30 days of decision and without any fees.

3. Second Appellate Public Information Officer – With in State / Central Government -  In case sufficient information is not provided at above two levels, applicant can go to Second Appellate Information Officer which is within state

4. Information Commissioner – Ultimately if he doesn’t get information from above hierarchy, he can approach to Information Commissioner.

TimeLine for RTI

For PIO to reply to application

30 days from date of receipt of application

For PIO to transfer to another PA under Sec 6(3)

5 days from date of receipt of application

For PIO to issue notice to 3rd Party

5 days from date of receipt of application

For 3rd Party to make a representation to PIO

10 days from receipt of notice from PIO

For PIO to reply to application if 3rdParty involved 

40 days from date of receipt of application

For applicant to make First Appeal

30 days from date of receipt of PIO’s reply or from date when reply was to be received

For First Appellate Authority to pass an order

30 days from receipt of First Appeal OR
Maximum 45 days, if reasons for delay are given in writing

For applicant to make Second Appeal before CIC/SIC

90 days from receipt of First Appeal orders or from the date when orders were to be received

For CIC/SIC to decide Second Appeal

No time limit specified

Format of RTI application

To,

The Public Information Officer

Name of Department

Address

Date

Subject:- Seeking Information Under Right To Information Act, 2005 regarding _______

Respected Sir,

I want to get information under the RTI ACT 2005 regarding the_________________________

Please provide me the information on following points: 

1. What is the reason for delay?

2. When I will get Service Tax Registration Certificate?

Thanks,

Yours sincerely,                                                                                                  

XYZ

(Sd/-)

Enclosure: Postal Order No________

Facts about RTI

a. The RTI Laws were first successfully enacted by the state governments of TamilNadu (1997), Goa (1997), Rajasthan (2000), Karnataka (2000), Delhi (2001), Maharashtra (2002), Assam (2002), Madhya Pradesh (2003), and Jammu and Kashmir (2004).

b. Jammu & Kashmir has its own Right to Information Act of 2009, the successor to the repealed J&K Right to Information Act, 2004 and its 2008 amendments.

c. In the first year of National RTI, 42,876 (not yet official) applications for information were filed to Central (i.e. Federal) public authorities. Of these 878 were disputed at the final appellate stage - the Central Information Commission at New Delhi

d. The first stay order against a final appellate decision of the Central Information Commission was granted on 3.May.2006 by the High Court of Delhi in WP(C)6833-35/2006 cited as "NDPL & Ors. versus Central Information Commission & Ors"

e. RTInation- An online vertical of RTI, has been conferred the Karmaveer Puraskaar, for social justice and civil action, for the year 2010-2011

Word for Wise, Take it as Advise

a. Don’t write for irrelevant means - To burden Govt. Depts. It is a Right, Don’t use it wrong.

b. Always go for RTI when all other options are exhausted

c. Inform your known ones regarding the powers they have via effective use of RTI.

d. Try to facilitate the concerned RTI officials by filling up the letters in a legible and clear manner (i.e. self-explanatory letter.)

e. By making proper use of RTI, we can even seek information relating to govt. policies & it’s implementation (specially used by NGO’s)

Thanks & Regards

Gaurav Arya

Chartered Accountant

Email Id:  gaaurav.champion@gmail.com    

Facebook: gaurav.krazzy@rediffmail.com


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