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How to make RTI Application

How to make RTI Application

You must have heard about the Right to Information Act. Probably, after the independence, this is the most powerful tool in the hands of the general public. Often, the Right to Information is known as ‘RTI’. This is governed by a revolutionary law namely, the Right to Information Act, 2005. The primary goal of the RTI Act is to foster transparency within governmental organizations in India.

Before the implementation of the RTI Act, only members of Parliament had the exclusive right to access government information. With the enactment of this act, the common person now has the ability to seek information from the government. Whether you are a business owner or a concerned citizen wanting to inquire about any government department's activities, the RTI Act serves as a valuable tool for obtaining relevant information. This acquired information can be utilized effectively for your specific needs.

The legislation is highly extensive, encompassing a wide range of governance-related issues. Its broad scope extends to all tiers of government, including central, state, and local levels, and it also applies to entities receiving substantial government funding.

This article will give you all the information about RTI Application.

How to file an RTI application?
Get the Public Information Officer's address from the organization's website. Draft the RTI application form in English, Hindi, or the official language of the state, and address it to the Public Information Officer, articulating your inquiries clearly. Include your complete name, contact information, and the address where you wish to receive the RTI information/response. Note that there is no prescribed format for the application, and it can be submitted on plain paper. Importantly, there is no requirement to provide reasons for seeking the information.

Steps for RTI Application Online:
The Department of Personnel and Training has introduced the RTI online web portal accessible at www.rtionline.gov.in for all Union Ministries/Departments. This platform serves as a convenient means for Indian citizens to submit their RTI applications and first appeals electronically to various Union Ministries/Departments. Additionally, the prescribed RTI fee can be conveniently paid online through this portal. Responding to RTI applications and first appeals received online can also be carried out electronically by the respective Public Information Officers (PIOs) and First Appellate Authorities (FAAs).

Fee and modes of payment of fee for RTI application?

A citizen seeking information from a public authority is required to submit a demand draft or banker's check along with the application, or alternatively, an Indian Postal Order of Rs. 10/- (Rupees Ten) payable to the Accounts Officer of the relevant public authority. This prescribed fee is necessary for obtaining the requested information.

Alternatively, the fee can be settled in cash directly to the Public Authority or Assistant Public Information Officer, with a proper receipt issued. For Central Ministries/Departments, payment can also be processed online through State Bank of India Internet Banking or via Master/Visa Debit/Credit Card.

The following are the modes of payment of fees for online applications:
Internet banking by SBI and its affiliated banks.
Using State Bank of India ATM-cum-Debit Card.
MasterCard/Visa Credit/Debit Card.

Note: 
It's important to highlight that, in accordance with the RTI Rules of 2012, citizens living below the poverty line are exempt from paying the RTI fee. However, applicants falling under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category must enclose a copy of the relevant government-issued certificate as proof of their status along with the application.


What is the period for information supply?

Typically, the public authority aims to furnish the requested information to the applicant within 30 days of receiving the application. However, in cases where the information sought pertains to the life or liberty of an individual, it is mandated to be provided within a shorter timeframe of 48 hours.

Which Government offices are covered under the RTI Act?

The Act encompasses all government agencies, whether operating under the state or central government. This includes entities such as Municipal Corporations, Public Sector Units (PSUs), Government Departments, Ministries at both State and Central Levels, the Judiciary, Government-Owned Companies, Government Universities, Government Schools, Construction Departments, Road Authorities, Provident Fund Department, and others. Notably, the RTI applies not only to larger government bodies but also to smaller units like city corporations or village panchayats. Utilizing the right to information, individuals can obtain details on various matters, including the status of applications such as GST Registration, Income Tax Return, GST Refund, Government expenditure, and more.

Which Government organizations are not covered under the RTI Act?

Entities associated with the country's defense and intelligence, such as RAW, BSF, CRPF, CISF, Intelligence Bureau, National Security Guard, etc., are also subject to the provisions of the RTI Act. However, there are specific instances where RTI information cannot be disclosed. These include cases where the information:
1.    Would compromise national security, sovereignty, strategic, economic, and/or scientific interests.
2.    Has been denied release by the court.
3.    Involves trade secrets or intellectual property, potentially harming the competitive position of a third party.
4.    Pertains to information under a trust relationship.
5.    Could jeopardize any person's life or physical safety.
6.    Concerns Foreign Government Information.
7.    Might impede the process of investigation.
8.    Falls under Cabinet Papers.
9.    Involves personal data without any public interest.
In these scenarios, the RTI Act provides exemptions to ensure the protection of sensitive and critical information.

Summary:

The Right to Information (RTI) is a highly effective and cost-efficient tool that enables individuals to understand the allocation of public funds, identify areas where corruption may exist, and assess the working status of government officials, among other things. It serves as a means to subject government institutions to scrutiny and enhances transparency in their operations. Empowered with the knowledge of RTI, an ordinary citizen has the authority to request information from any government agency, thereby contributing to the principles of accountability and openness in governance.

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