How to File and Escalate an RTI Application
This is a basic step by step explanation on how to file an RTI Application and, if no action is taken, how to escalate the situation by filing an Appeal.
How to File an RTI Application:
Step 1 – Writing an Application Specifying the Particulars of the Information Sought.
The application may be typed or hand-written. An application can be made via e-mail too. In case an applicant has difficulty in writing the application, he can verbally request the Public Information Officer (“PIO”) or the Assistant Public Information Officer (“APIO”) who is bound to put the request in writing.
Some Public Authorities have devised their own format for the applications for which the applicants may refer to web-sites of those Public Authorities. Applications cannot be rejected on the ground that they were not in the prescribed proforma.
The application should be in English, Hindi or the official language of the area in which application is being made.
An applicant is not required to submit the reasons for seeking information nor can the PIO ask for it. However, it is suggested that in certain cases, the applicant should explain the reasons for seeking information to strengthen his/her case.
Step 2 – Payment of the Prescribed Fees
Along with the application, a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order of Rs. 10/- (Rupees ten), payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to the Assistant Public Information Officer against proper receipt.
The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the PIO as prescribed by the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005. Rates of fee as prescribed in the Rules are given below:
(a) rupees two (Rs. 2/-) for each page ( in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;
(b) actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper;
(c) actual cost or price for samples or models;
(d) for information provided in diskette or floppy, rupees fifty (Rs. 50/-) per diskette or floppy; and
(e) for information provided in printed form, at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.
For inspection of records, the public authority shall charge no fee for the first hour. But a fee of rupees five (Rs. 5/-) for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof) shall be charged.
Step 3 – Making the Application
The RTI Act requires that the applicant address the application to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the ‘concerned public authority’.
If the information is available with more than one public authority, separate applications should be filed with the different PIOs.
A dated acknowledgement should be obtained from the receipt counter of the public authority. If it is sent by post, the proof of sending by post should be retained.
How to File an Appeal:
If an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, an appeal can be filed to the first appellate authority who is an officer senior in rank to the Public Information Officer. Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public Information Officer is received.
The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.
If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Central Information Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.
For more detailed explanations on how to file an application, file an appeal, and about the RTI Act in general, please read our articles on the same
To read our detailed guide on filing an RTI Application click here.
To read our detailed guide on escalating an RTI Application click here.
To read our detailed guide on the RTI Act, 2005, click here.
This information has been provided by ALMT Legal.