We’ve heard the noise alright. But have we heard the voice? Here’s a snapshot of the RTI act,  a right that our parents never had. We would have no else but us youth to blame if we don’t make use of it to make a better Ahmedabad, a better India.

What is Information?

Information means any material in any form including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force –  Section 2(f)

What is a Public Authority?

“Public Authority” means any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted —
(a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any — (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government

What is the application procedure for requesting information?

Apply in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the PIO, specifying the particulars of the information sought for.

Reason for seeking information are not required to be given; Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the below poverty line category).

What is the time limit to get the information?

30 days from 30 days from the date of application; 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a person; 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the application for information is given to Assistant Public Information Officer. If the interests of a third party are involved then time limit will be 40 days (maximum period + time given to the party to make representation). Failure to provide information within the specified period is a deemed refusal.

What does Right to Information mean?

It includes the right to – (i) inspect works, documents, records. (ii) take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records. (iii) take certified samples of material. (iv) obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts. – Section 2(j)

Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?

PIOs are officers designated by the public authorities in all administrative units or offices under it to provide information to the citizens requesting for information under the Act. Any officer, whose assistance has been sought by the PIO for the proper discharge of his or her duties, shall render all assistance and for the purpose of contraventions of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as a PIO.

What can one complain about?

The Central Information Commission (CIC) is an autonomous body set up to inquire into complaints received from citizens. You can complain that you have been refused access to information. You can also complain about how the public authority has handled your request, for instance: (i) failure to respond to your request within 30 working days (or failure to explain why an extension to the 45 days is needed); (ii) failure to give you proper advice and help within the stipulated time (iii) failure to give information in the form in which you asked for it (iv) failure to properly explain reasons for refusing your request, for instance if the public authority believes that giving you information would harm a criminal investigation.

What is the fee?

Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable. If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated in writing with calculation details of how the figure was arrived at; Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged by the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority; No fees will be charged from people living below the poverty line. Applicant must be provided information free of cost if the PIO fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.

For all the information about the RTI Act, please visit http://rti.nic.in   www.righttoinformation.gov.in


Author. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Journalist.

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