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Right To Information Act: Your guide to filing an RTI

RTI has been used by many people the country-over to gain information, and has in the process become a very useful tool to fight corruption. Here is the complete guide to filing an RTI.



As a citizen, you have the right
to know about how the government is going about improving your living conditions. The RTI Act entitles you to receive all the information you need from government departments and it's time for more widespread use, especially in Bangalore. This is how you can file an RTI application.

What is information?
It is any document, record, electronic record, CD, files etc related to government functioning. An RTI application is like a letter stating the information required by citizen and addressed to PIO, Public Information Officer of the appropriate department.
RTI is applicable on any public authority as given below
1. Any central or state government department, ministry, institution etc. e.g. Income tax dept, finance ministry, passport office, municipality, police, courts etc
2. Any Public Sector Unit (PSU) like ONGC, HAL, BHEL, NTPC etc. Any Public Sector Bank (PSB) like SBI, etc
3. Any NGO or institution with substantial financial support from government. So this will cover NGO which get aid from government. E.g. BIAL, Bangalore International Airport Ltd was deemed to be a public authority since it had some funding from government too.

What is Public Information Officer (PIO)?
PIO is the person responsible in a department for receiving RTI applications, and sending responses, or rejecting applications if applicable. PIO is liable for penalty of Rs 250 per day in case of delay beyond 30 days, or even disciplinary action if information is delayed or denied on no just grounds, or with malafide intention. This can happen only after appeal filed by applicant, which will be discussed in later sessions. Click here to locate your Central Government PIO's.

Constituents of an RTI application
1. Name and address of applicant.
2. Name and address of PIO
3. Particulars of information required
4. Postal order, draft, cash etc
Click here to download the sample RTI application

How to go about solving a problem using RTI

1. State a personal or public problem area which you need to solve.
2. Find the department responsible for that area.
3. Find the address of PIO responsible for that area.
4. Draft an RTI application addressed to PIO.
5. Enclose a postal order (of Rs 10 in most cases) addressed to PIO and send letter by registered or speed post to the PIO. Postal order is most convenient since it can be purchased in bulk at a post office, and then one can file RTIs one by one.
6. Wait for 30 days for response. If response is not received within 30 days or rejected, you can file appeal. (The details of appeal, complaint etc will be taken in later sessions).
Click here to see the format of RTI application
 
Right way to frame questions
1.Be very specific and ask to the point questions. Don't ask vague questions.
2. Ask as many short questions as you like, but don't ask for voluminous information.
3.Ask information always by writing your name and signature, and not by your post, as only citizen have the right to information.
4.Do not ask a question containing 'WHY'! For example, questions like why you failed to pass the bill, is liable to be rejected for not covering under RTI Act.
5.You can ask for reasons behind a "administrative" or a "quasi-judicial" decision under Section 4(1)(d), especially if you are a "affected person"
6. If the information sought is voluminous, it is better to ask it in the form of CD to save on cost.
7. Also, you do not need to write the reason for asking the information.
8. Mention the payment details like BC/DD/IPO number, issuing bank/post office, date, cash receipt details , etc, towards the end of your application

RTI Rules of government departments
There are general central and state rules regarding procedure, payment under RTI Act. Also a department can have specific rules of its own under RTI act.
1. E.g. the general rules for Karnataka state that Rs 10 is the fees for RTI applications.
2. Specific departments can have their own rules also. E.g. Karnataka High Court has its own rules regarding cost of supplying information per page. Also, it accepts fees only in cash so one has to go in person to file RTI.
3. The state of Karnataka has recently passed an amendment to its RTI rules restricting the RTI application to one subject matter and to 150 words.

Designated Post Offices:
In order to facilitate citizens in filing RTI applications, the government has designated certain Post Offices for accepting RTI applications addressed to Public Authorities (PA's) under Central Government. These cannot be used for submitting RTI Applications addressed to State PA's, Legislatures, Courts, etc.
A list of designated Post Offices is available here: KARNATAKA POSTAL CIRCLE

Further Reading

There are many caveats and clauses and conditions that apply, to know more you can you can find details here - rtiindia.org (use this to Search for the appropriate Ministry/organization and their corresponding RTI websites) and http://deveshwar.in/RTI
Tags: rti act, rti application, rti rules, how to file an rti, what is rti

19 comments

Pawan Kumawat Dec 17th, 2010 03:25 PM

Dear All
As per my suggestion the RTI act is not applicable to private institution's like pvt bank, pvt. insurance co etc, for the information you would like to go to the regulator authority of the concern like RBI for banks, IRDA for insurance co, Registrar of companies for companies.
  

Rosely Jose Dec 11th, 2010 12:49 PM

I have been sexually harassed in the organisation,NGO where I was working and though I gave my complaint to the management instead of taking action against the senior official, they illegally removed me from the service. My termination from the organisation is without an enquiry or issuing the articles of charges.  Further the suspension order along with show cause notice contain defamatory word and hence I have approached the court for justice.  Though the magistrate court has issued summons the accused approached the high court for quashing the case.  The judge without even looking in the facts submitted by me with enough supporting documentary evidence has quashed the case.  Whereas the accused has not produced any documentary evidence except for some fabricated evidences.  I request the concerned officials to help me in this regard as I am willing to produce all supporting documentary evidences. The court requires proof and not some blind talk without any evidences. There is something fishy in the  verdict given by the judge and I  request the concerned official to help me how to proceed further as I am confident that the verdict should have been in my favour.  Without a reason a woman will not approach the court and instead of giving the justice the judge has allowed the criminals to grow.  I once again request to help me to get justice for me.

vivek.singhania Dec 09th, 2010 06:45 PM

hi,i m a citizen of these country i m leaving in a nagar nigam colony ,here a land is reserved for the purpose of playground but inspite of ground there is jungle in that particular place but i want a ground there ....so please tell me wat to do.

love kumar Dec 08th, 2010 01:02 PM

I want to file a rti application to a school with a copy of T.C. issued  by that school to get a certified copy of when had my father got admission in that school . Let me suggest to whom should I apply to get that information.

GURWINDER Nov 19th, 2010 11:14 AM

can we apply in any private company under RTI 2005   LIKE PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY.

Balasubramanian Nov 18th, 2010 02:47 PM

I would like to file RTI against POST OFFICE, Mangalore. We purchased a NSC in 2004 in Bangalore PO. Now since we are residing in Mangalore we approached the concerned PO in Mangalore. At first they told it will take 1 week then 15 days and then 20 days. Now it is extended to another week. Why they are not able to tell the exact time period. Now I really regret investing in PO. Now please tell me what should I do. Postmaster is not available whenever I go to complain. It is  really disgusting going everytime and ask them. In this fast moving world will the verification within a state will take so much of time?

Harish Nov 11th, 2010 09:56 PM

are private banks like HDFC bound to give information under Right To Information act (RTI act) ? and Mahindra and mahindra like companies also bound to give information about employee salary?

shadab a khan Nov 04th, 2010 02:44 PM

if i have to rti from panchyat samiti can i take from him directly by giving form to him or orally.....................

Mahesh Kumar Oct 29th, 2010 12:41 AM

Dear All
How can I file RTI against private IT company, because they are not giving me the reliving letter as they have to say that their notice period is 30 days. But I have not received any letter where it is described that notice period is 30 days. I am in very tense. Please update me what should we do in this case?
 
Regards
 
Mahesh Kumar
9873245160

Amaresh Kumar Oct 19th, 2010 10:48 AM

I want to file RTI Aginst Arigation Department of Bihar State. In my  village there is a Canal whhich has been dry since 25 years but i donot what ther are doing. Its affect two district of my state. I am also a farmer family. Its affects our agriculture very badly. pls help to file RTI for that.

gopikrishna Oct 14th, 2010 10:02 AM

i want to know why the public sector banks charge to much of examination fee for only general and obc candidates . In general as well as in obc caste there are so many people who are in poverty level . all people are equal in term of government . but why they are show more considering only sc/ st people . other are not people . the only problem with this bank are they are hiking examination fee total on general and obc people. why?

Amit Agnihotri Sep 09th, 2010 12:11 PM

sir/madam
I am teacher in Basic School in Uttar Pradesh. I joined here through special BTC. Since last 3 months my salary and arier is not paid to me due to verification of my education documents. when I contact to DIET they replied that they have send application to the Bhopal university for verification but university doesnot reply. Even DIET had also sent 2 reminders. Now I wish to File a RTI to Bhopal University for the said problem. 
Please give me more detail so thai I could File and get my verification.

ram Aug 23rd, 2010 06:32 PM

What is RTI , why we need , purpose of RTI and use

GURUPRASAD.N Aug 13th, 2010 06:30 PM

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
I would like to give complaint against Karnataka Examination Authority.  My brother got rejection of evening college engineering seat. He has been working in Wipro Company from 27th Feb 2007 onwards. He wrote the exam (CET for evening BE college in Bangalore) on 30th July.  He got 563rd general rank and 46th rank in computer science.  But during the seat selection the board members told us we have new rule that “a person is not eligible for transfer occur in private industry”.  But in brochure, they mentioned only that “a person should have professional experience of minimum of one year” and “the working company should be in Bangalore”.  They told us, you will loose your time as well as your seat if you continue to argue this.  We have all the original documents related to the board needs.
 
My question is why private company (transferred) worker is not eligible for seat selection.
They told us, he should have been working more than a year onwards when he transferred. And in the brochure there is no information regarding this.  Last year, my brother wrote the exam in Bangalore while he was working in Mysore and his register number was blocked.  On that time also they did not resolve the issue and told us, he made the mistake for writing the exam in Bangalore instead of in Mysore.  On that time also they argued that they mentioned in the brochure.  
 
Dear Sir/Madam, it’s our humble request to you, please help us.  Please remove this type of rules which is very harmful for others also.
 
Thanking you,
 
Guruprasad.N
PH- 8050597014
 
 
My question is why private company (transferred) worker is not eligible for seat selection.
They told us, he should have been working more than a year onwards when he transferred. And in the brochure there is no information regarding this.  Last year, my brother wrote the exam in Bangalore when he was working in Mysore and his register number was blocked.  On that time also they did not resolve the issue and told us, he made the mistake for writing the exam in Bangalore instead of in Mysore.  On that time also they argued that they mentioned in the brochure.  
 
Dear Sir/Madam, it’s our humble request to you, please help us.  Please remove this type of rules which is very harmful for others also.
 
Thanking you,
 
Guruprasad.N
8050597014
 
 

pranav Aug 05th, 2010 02:03 PM

I want to file a rti application against Jagdamb School,Purnea (Bihar) for Mid day meal  expenses.

pranav Aug 05th, 2010 02:00 PM

I want to file an application against meter reader of bihar electricity borad .he has filled the reading in home withour visitng on site

Nandhini Jul 31st, 2010 11:32 AM

i want to file a RTI on bank of baroda because to know the reason for my failure in probationary officer 2010. please guide me whom should i approach

MANISH YADAV Jul 16th, 2010 12:06 PM

I WANT TO FILE A RTI TO HE POST OFFICE DEPT. BECAUSE IN OUR VILLAGE POST OFFICE HAS BEEN REOVED WITHOUT AN ADEQUATE REASON. PEOPLE FACES MANY PROBLEMS AFTER THAT AND HAVE TO GO OTHER POST OFFICE WHICH IS FAR AWAY FROM VILLAGE. GIVE ME DETAILS FOR THAT.

praveen sakhuja Jul 01st, 2010 10:13 AM

it is an educative progamm BUT on papers, none can force the executors to imply with it. PIO 

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