Free Press Journal

Sunday Gyaan! Wondering how to file an RTI? Here’s all you need to know

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The Right to Information Act 2005 has been welcomed as a revolution in India’s progression as a democracy. The Right to Information Act is considered to be one of the strongest pieces of legislation at the disposal of the common man. It gives citizens the power to question public authorities and their activities, thereby not only promoting transparency but demanding accountability as well. The Act is considered a landmark legislation in the fight against corruption.

RTI Act came into force on October 12, 2005, almost 25 years after the proposal was first mooted. The first RTI application in Delhi was filed to the office of President about article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir. The Act covers the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, where J&K Right to Information Act is in force. It covers all the constitutional authorities, including executive, legislature and judiciary; any institution or body established or constituted by an act of Parliament or a state legislature. It is also defined in the Act that bodies or authorities established or constituted by order or notification of appropriate government including bodies “owned, controlled or substantially financed” by the government, or non-Government organizations “substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds”.

However, due to the lack of awareness, there prevails a lot of confusion and doubts about the applicability and practicability of this act. So here’s how one can file an RTI application:


Filing RTI offline

Step 1: One needs to first identify the department in which one wishes to file an RTI plea. Depending on the subject, the request would either come under the scope of local authority, state government or central government.

Step 2:  The application is to be then written or typed in Hindi, English or the particular area’s local language.

Step 3: Application is to be addressed to the Central/State Public Information Officer. The name and the complete address of the office from which one wishes to seek information are to be mentioned. The subject line should clearly mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005.’

Step 4: Request can then be put in with detailed, specific questions mentioning the year or period the plea falls in. The documents can be obtained at a nominal charge of Rs.2 per page.

Step 5: Rs.10 is to be paid in the form of either cash, bank draft, money order or a court fee stamp to file the request. People belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category are excluded from paying the fee, after producing proof.

Step 6: Full name, address and contact details along with the email address of the applicant need to be mentioned clearly. The date, as well as the town’s name, needs to be stated.

Step 7: The application can then be sent by mail or handed in personally to the concerned office. Receiving an acknowledgment is a must. Be sure to keep a photocopy of the application for future reference.

Step 8: The government mandates the concerned office to respond to the request within a period of 30 days. If the same does not happen, one can file an appeal to ‘The Appellate Authority’ who are also mandated to respond within 30 days. The appeal can then be made to Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission.

Filing RTI online

Step 1: First, visit the RTI Website, https://rtionline.gov.in/, and click on the Submit Request button.

Step 2: The form will then appear and one can begin filling in the required details. Select the appropriate Ministry along with the department. Fill in your contact details. One needs to provide the email ID to complete the request, but can also fill the mobile number (optional) if wish to receive SMS alerts.

Step 3: If an applicant has difficulty choosing the appropriate public authority, the search bar on the top can be used to locate it.

Step 4: The RTI plea can be filled right next to Text for RTI Application. The word limit is 3,000 characters as per the form. If it exceeds or a necessary document needs to be added, one can also attach the file by clicking Choose File next to Supporting Document. The PDF file can be attached of size up till 1 MB.

Step 5: The characters mentioned in the image need to be rewritten in Enter Security Code and then click Submit.

Step 6: The fee for filing the request is the same as offline, Rs.10, which can be paid in the form of debit/credit card or net banking.

Step 7: Acknowledgment with a unique registration number for the request will be shown once the payment is made. One can request for it in the form of email/SMS as well. Status for the request can then be regularly checked on the RTI page.

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