RTI FAQ

Q.1. What is Information?
Information is any material in any form. It includes records,documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars,orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, datamaterial held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under anylaw for the time being in force.

Q.2 What is a Public Authority?
A “public authority” is any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; or byany other law made by the Parliament or a State Legislature; or bynotification issued or order made by the Central Government or a State Government. The bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by theCentral Government or a State Government and non-Governmentorganizations substantially financed by the Central Government or a StateGovernment also fall within the definition of public authority. The financingof the body or the NGO by the Government may be direct or indirect.

Q.3 What is a Public Information Officer?
Public authorities have designated some of its officers as PublicInformation Officer. They are responsible to give information to a personwho seeks information under the RTI Act.

Q.4 What is an Assistant Public Information Officer?
These are the officers at sub-divisional level to whom a person cangive his RTI application or appeal. These officers send the application orappeal to the Public Information Officer of the public authority or theconcerned appellate authority. An Assistant Public Information Officer is not responsible to supply the information.The Assistant Public Information Officers appointed by theDepartment of Posts in various post offices are working as Assistant Public Information Officers for all the public authorities under the Government ofIndia.

Q.5. What is the Fee for Seeking Information from CentralGovernment Public Authorities?
A person who desires to seek some information from a CentralGovernment Public Authority is required to send, along with the application,a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order of Rs.10/-(Rupees ten), payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as feeprescribed for seeking information. The payment of fee can also be madeby way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to theAssistant Public Information Officer against proper receipt. However, theRTI Fee and the mode of payment may vary as under Section 27 andSection 28, of the RTI Act, 2005 the appropriate Government and thecompetent authority, respectively, by notification in the Official Gazette,make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Q.6. What is the Fee for the BPL applicant for Seeking Information?
If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) category, he isnot required to pay any fee. However, he should submit a proof in supportof his claim to belong to the below poverty line.

Q.7. Is there any specific Format of Application?
There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information.The application can be made on plain paper. The application should,however, have the name and complete postal address of the applicant.

Q.8. Is it required to give any reason for seeking information?
The information seeker is not required to give reasons for seekinginformation.

Q.9. Is there any provision for exemption from Disclosure ofInformation?
Sub-section (1) of section 8 and section 9 of the Act enumerate thetypes of information which is exempt from disclosure. Sub-section (2) ofsection 8, however, provides that information exempted under sub-section (1) or exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 can be disclosed ifpublic interest in disclosure overweighs the harm to the protected interest.

Q.10. Is there any assistance available to the Applicant for filing RTIapplication?
If a person is unable to make a request in writing, he may seek the helpof the Public information Officer to his application and the PublicInformation Officer should render him reasonable assistance. Where adecision is taken to give access to a sensorily disabled person to anydocument, the Public Information Officer, shall provide such assistance tothe person as may be appropriate for inspection.

Q.11. What is the Time Period for Supply of Information?
In normal course, information to an applicant shall be supplied within 30days from the receipt of application by the public authority. If informationsought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be supplied within 48hours. In case the application is sent through the Assistant PublicInformation Officer or it is sent to a wrong public authority, five days shallbe added to the period of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be.

Q.12. Is there any provision of Appeal under the RTI Act?
If an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time ofthirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with theinformation furnished to him, he may prefer an appeal to the first appellateauthority who is an officer senior in rank to the Public Information Officer.Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the dateon which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from thedate on which the information or decision of the Public Information Officeris received. The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose ofthe appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45days of the receipt of the appeal.

Q.13. Is there any scope for second appeal under the RTI Act?
If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal withinthe prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of thefirst appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the CentralInformation Commission within ninety days from the date on which thedecision should have been made by the first appellate authority or wasactually received by the appellant.

Q.14. Whether Complaints can be made under this Act? If yes, underwhat conditions?
If any person is unable to submit a request to a Public InformationOfficer either by reason that such an officer has not been appointed by theconcerned public authority; or the Assistant Public Information Officer hasrefused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the sameto the Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case maybe; or he has been refused access to any information requested by himunder the RTI Act; or he has not been given a response to a request forinformation within the time limit specified in the Act; or he has beenrequired to pay an amount of fee which he considers unreasonable; or hebelieves that he has been given incomplete, misleading or falseinformation, he can make a complaint to the Information Commission.

Q.15. What is Third Party Information?
Third party in relation to the Act means a person other than thecitizen who has made request for information. The definition of third partyincludes a public authority other than the public authority to whom therequest has been made.

Q.16. What is the Method of Seeking Information?
A citizen who desires to obtain any information under the Act, shouldmake an application to the Public Information Officer of the concernedpublic authority in writing in English or Hindi or in the official language ofthe area in which the application is made. The application should be precise and specific. He should make payment of application fee at thetime of submitting the application as prescribed in the Fee Rules.

Q.17. Is there any organization(s) exempt from providing informationunder RTI Act?
Yes, certain intelligence and security organizations specified in theSecond Schedule, are exempted from providing information excepting theinformation pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rightsviolations.