Common Questions on RTI.
- What is RTI?
- What cannot be Sourced from RTI?
- How to file RTI?
- What can be the Reliefs on filing RTI?
What is RTI?
Right to Information or RTI is the provision which enables citizens to request information from a “public authority” (body of the Government or an instrumentality of the State). It mandates timely response to the request filed by citizen for a government information.
What information is exempt from the Right to Information Act?
As per Section 8 of the RTI Act, certain types of information are exempt from being provided under an RTI application. Some of the exemptions have been listed below:
- Any information which would affect the sovereignty, integrity, and strategic interests of the Indian State are exempt.
- Disclosure of any information which would constitute contempt of court, or which has been expressly barred from publication by any tribunal, or the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature.
- Information which is made available to a person in capacity of their fiduciary relationship with someone.
- Information which is personal information the disclosure of which would not have any public interest would be exempt as it would cause an unwarranted breach of privacy.
What is the Governing Law of RTI?
The Right to Information Act, 2005.
Procedure for RTI filing-
Following is the summarised process for filing an RTI:
- Identifying relevant department of the government would be giving the information, for example in RTI’s related to tax matters, the concerned authority would be Income Tax Department.
- Writing the application as per the prescribed format However, following the format is not necessary and it can be submitted on a plain paper in Hindi/English or other language.
- Payment of fees- An amount of Rs. 10 is charged on an RTI application, which is made in form of an Indian Postal Order which is to be attached in the application.
- Send Application- After the completion of above steps, the RTI application can be sent via speed post/registered post. If a reply is not received within 30 days, then the central information commission can be approached.
Some Legal facts of RTI:
- As per Section 6(2) of the RTI Act, 2005 – the applicant making request for the information is not under the obligation to provide any reason for the requesting of his information.
- Article 370 of the Indian Constitution keeps the state of Jammu & Kashmir outside the ambit of RTI. However, there is an act called ‘Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act of 2009’.
- Exception to RTI – if an information, which is beyond the domain of a state government, is requested for to the State Information Commission, then they can revert back suggesting you to file an application to the Central Information Commission or the relevant Central Authority.
- Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Office of AG – Delhi High Court held that office of the Attorney General of India is a public authority under the Right to Information Act.
- Jiju Lukose v. State of Kerala – Kerala High Court said that the police are obligated to provide a copy of the FIR on an RTI application unless a relevant authority under Section 8 of the RTI Act exempts from the copy being provided.
Reliefs provided under Right to Information Act:
If the applicant doesn’t receive a response to the application within the prescribed time period, then he may file an appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act, the first appeal is addressed to the first appellate authority which is designated in each public department/authority.
RTI applicants can also directly approach the State Information Commission or the Central Information Commission if they do not get a response on their RTI application within the stipulated time period.