What is RTI?
RTI provides a legal framework of Citizens democratic right to access information under the control of Public Authorities. It is an Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to Information for citizens to secure transparency and accountability.
Public Authority means any Authority or Body or Institutions established or constituted:
- By or under the constitution
- By any other law made by parliament
- By any other law made by State Legislature.
- By notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government.
What does Information Mean?
Information is in the form of Records, Documents, Memos, Opinions & Advices, Press Releases, Circulars, Orders & Logbooks, Contracts, Reports, Papers, Samples & Models.
The RTI act 2005 was enacted by permission and authority of his Excellency, President of India. This act was enacted by the parliament on 15.06.2005 and notified in the Gazette of India dated 21.06.2005.
The law talks of Access to Information under the control of public authorities. That means that any citizen in India can approach any “Public Authority” of a body of Government or “Instrumental of State” for the same. There is a 30 days limit for a reply. In fact, the ambit was widened even further and made applicable for bodies “owned, controlled or substantially financed” by the Government.
Need For RTI Act
- It helps to promote openness, transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
- Reduces Corruption.
- Prevent Administrative Arbitrariness.
- Bridge the gap between providers and recipient of public services.
- Make citizens part of decision making.
- Make administrative responsive.
- Strengthen the foundations of democracy.
Request for Obtaining Information
A person, who desires to obtain any information under this Act, shall make a request to
- The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, of the concerned public authority.
- The Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, specifying the particulars of the information sought by him or her provided that where such request cannot be made in writing, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing.
Exemptions From Disclosure of Information
- National Security
- Content of Court
- Parliament Privilege
- Trade Secrecy
- Foreign Government
- Safety of Informer in Law Enforcement
- Official secrets
The Very First RTI Application was filed on October 12, 2005 by a person named Shahid Raza Burney who submitted India’s first ever Right to Information application to a police station in Pune and thus made us enter the RTI age.
How to file RTI?
Step 1: Move to RTI website
Go to https://rtionline.gov.in/ and select submit request button at the top left of the page. Read guidelines for use of RTI online portal and give your approval.
Step 2: Identify the public authority
Identify the authority or ministry that is concerned with your query. Also, select the public authority to whom your application should be sent to.
Step 3: Fill your personal details
Fill all your person details like mobile number, email id, address etc. all the updates will be sent to those particular address.
Step 4: Ask your query
Write your questions that are to be asked. Be sure that PIO [public information officer] understands your query and cannot reject the application without responding.
Step 5: Proceed towards payment
After completing the above steps, a payment of Rs. 10 is to be initiated using payment options like internet banking. Credit/debit card, rupay card.
Overall, it has been hugely successful and has helped citizens get crucial information. One of the biggest successes has been getting information in the Adarsh scam. It also helped expose corruption in the Public Distribution System in Assam. While there are national and State level scams, it has helped unearth hundreds of wrongdoings at the local level Such as 2G Scam, Commonwealth Games- Diversion of Dalit Funds, Indian Red Cross Society Scam etc.
While RTI activism became an industry, attacks on RTI activists followed. The number of such attacks now number hundreds and dozens have been killed.
- Lalit Mehta was exposing a NREGA scam and was killed in 2008.
- Satish Shetty was exposing land scams in Maharashtra and was stabbed to death in 2010.
- In the same year Amit Jethwa was shot in the Ahmedabad High Court complex. He was exposing a mining scam.
Fees & Charges
Application Fees for filling the RTI form is Rs 10. It is in the Form of Electronic Media, Floppy/CD etc. Additional charges are applicable. Inspection charges of relevant files, documents and records are as follows-
- No fee for first hour of inspection.
- Rs 5 for every subsequent hour or fraction thereof.