RTI stands for "Right to Information". Right to Information is
fundamental right that every citizen has! Basically, the RTI gives you
all the information that you want about the Govt. and what they are
doing with your tax money!
You have the right to ask the Govt. why the roads outside your house are not fixed, why have you not received your “rashan card” as yet, why is there so much garbage in your area that is not picked up etc.
Simply because if you go into a Govt. office and demand that they tell you why your work has not been done, they will not entertain you or might even throw you out. If it’s a law, then it becomes harder to do this. If they do not give you the information you want, they will have broken a law and can be punished for it!
One or more officers in every Government Department
made "Public Information Officers" (PIO). If you want some information,
you need to file an application with the PIO. The PIO’s are
responsible for collecting information wanted by you and
that information to you.
Also, several officers have been appointed as Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs). Their job is only to accept applications from the public and forward it to the right PIO.
A PIO can refuse information on certain subjects. These include information received in confidence from foreign governments, information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc.
But, do not worry about this!
For an average citizen like you and me, the information we are looking for does not come under these categories. So the PIO can not refuse to give us information.
You can do that with the PIO or with APIO of the Govt. department you are questioning.
In the case of all Central Government Departments, certain
offices" have been designated as APIOs. This means that you can go to
any of these post offices and submit your “fee” and
“application” at the RTI counter in these post
They will issue you a receipt and acknowledgement and it is
responsibility of that post office to deliver it to the right PIO. The
list of these post offices is given
Yes, there is an “application fee”. For
Government Departments, it is Rs.10. However, different states have
For getting information, you have to pay Rs.2 per page of information provided for Central Government Departments. It is different for different states. Similarly, there is a fee for inspection of documents. There is no fee for first hour of inspection, but after that, you have to pay Rs.5 for every hour or inspection. This is according to Central Rules. For each state, you need to see respective state rules.
You can deposit fee in cash or through a DD or bankers cheque or postal order. You can then deposit your application either by post or by hand.
You can send it by post. Once you send it along with the fee, your job is done.
You should also make a formal complaint to the respective
“Information Commission”. The Information
the power to impose a penalty of Rs.25,000 on the concerned PIO officer
who refused to accept your application.
But it is most likely that the PIO will accept your application.
For Central Government Departments, there is no form. You should apply on a plain sheet of paper like an ordinary application. However, many states and some ministries and departments have prescribed formats. You should apply in these formats. Please read rules of your respective state.
Draft your application on a normal sheet of paper and submit it by post or in person to the Public Information Officer (PIO). [Remember to keep a copy of the application for your personal reference.]
Every state has a different mode of payment for application
fee. Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:
Some state governments have some "head of account". You are required to deposit fee in that account. For that, you can either go to any branch of SBI and deposit cash in that account and attach deposit receipt with your RTI application. Or you can also send a postal order or a DD drawn in favor of that account along with your RTI application. Please see respective state rules.
In case the PIO is not available you can submit your application with the Assistant PIO or any other officer designated to accept the RTI applications.
A list of PIOs/APIOs for all Central and State departments/Ministries is available online at www.rti.gov.in
In case you have problems locating your PIO/APIO you can
your RTI application to the “PIO C/o Head of
and send it to the concerned department with the requisite application
fee. The Head of Department will have to forward your application to
the concerned PIO.
Yes. If you file your application with the PIO, you must receive information within 30 days.
In case you have filed your application with Assistant PIO then information has to be made available within 35 days.
Absolutely not! You are not required to give any reasons or additional information other than your contact details (i.e., Name, Address, and Phone No.)
No. The PIO can not refuse to accept your application for information under "any circumstances". Even if the information does not pertain to his/her department/jurisdiction, she/he has to accept it. If the application does not pertain to that PIO, he would have to transfer it to the right PIO within 5 days.
Let us take the case of Ram. He was not being given his ration
But when he applied under RTI, he was given a card within a week. What
did Ram ask? He asked the following questions:
In normal circumstances, such an application would be thrown
dustbin. But this law says that the PIO has to reply in 30 days. If
they don’t do that, their salary could be deducted. The
is that it is not easy to answer these questions.
The first question is: Please provide the daily progress made
on my application
There is no progress made. But the government officials cannot
in that they have not acted for so many months. Else that would be
“admission of guilt on paper”. Which in a legal
saying that they are going to be “booted”
The next question is: Please provide the names and
the officers who were supposed to take action on my application and who
had not done.
If the government provides names and designations of the
their responsibility gets fixed. Any officer is most scared of fixing
of responsibility against him in this manner.
So, the moment one files such an application, his/her pending work is done.
It depends on why you asked for that information and what type
information is it. Often a lot of things start falling in place just by
asking for information. For instance, you would get your passport or a
ration card just by asking for the status of your application.
many cases, roads got repaired as soon as the "money spent"
on repairs was asked. So, seeking information and
the government is an important step, which in itself is complete in
But suppose you expose some corruption or wrongdoing using
Then, you can complain to vigilance agencies, CBI or even file an FIR.
But one thing is certain. Seeking information like this and exposing the corruption does improve the future. The officials get a clear message that the people of that area have become alert and any wrongdoings in future would not remain hidden as they were in the past. So, their risks of getting caught increase.
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