Only a few people are aware of the RTI (Right To Information) Act 2005, which is the right to gather information and is a fundamental right of every Indian Citizen. The Central Right to Information Act came into force on the October 12, 2005. The main objective of this Act is to provide transparency in government procedures. This Act is valid across the nation except Jammu and Kashmir.
What kind of Information can one seek?
- Individuals can seek any kind of government information and answers from the government.
- They can request copies of any government documents
- Individuals can also Inspect any government documents.
- They can also inspect any government works
- they can also take samples of materials of any government work.
Who will provide this information?
In every government department one or more people are appointed as Public Information Officers (PIO). These are the people who will accept RTI application, collect information from the respective department and provide it to the applicant.
If the coveted information is not provided within 30 days of submitting an application or information provided is incomplete , the concerned officer is liable for penalty and if the information provided is wrong, a huge penalty is imposed on the officer. If the information is not provided individuals can appeal to the Appellate Authority. In case this is not upto the satisfaction of the individual, one can appeal to the Information Commission.
How can you file RTI?
There is no specified format. One can write on white paper. However, the name and contact details are mandatory and you are not required to provide any reasons for filing RTI.
As per the Act the fees to file the RTI is Rs 10 and may increase for further information. Initial fee should be in the form of a demand draft, banker's cheque or cash with subsequent receipt of Rs. 10, along with the application form. For getting information you have to pay Rs 2 per page of information provided for Central Government Departments. The fees vary depending on the different states. According to the rules, first hour of inspection is free, after that you a charge of Rs. 5 is levied for every subsequent hour.
One can submit their application at any of the post offices at the RTI counter.
With the latest technology one can file RTI online with few sites providing this facility. Recently there were reports that call centers would be established to facilitate RTI. For more details visit http://www.righttoinformation.gov.in/ or http://www.rtiindia.org. To apply online visit http://www.rtination.com/.
Here are few examples when people have filed RTI, Information regarding Driving License, Road Construction and basic Infrastructure details, EPF transfer details, police verification details of passport, Income tax refund, status of all corruption complaints.