Faqs on RTI

Q-1. What does Right to Information mean?

Ans. Right to Information includes the following rights of a citizen:

(a) Right to inspect works, documents, and records.

(b) Right to take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.

(c) Right to take certified samples of material.

(d) Right to obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts. [S.2(j)]

Q-2. Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?

Ans. PIOs are officers designated by the public authorities in all administrative units or offices under it to provide information to the citizens requesting for information under the Act. Any officer, whose assistance has been sought by the PIO for the proper discharge of his or her duties, shall render all assistance and for the purpose of contraventions of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as a PIO.

In CDA Sri Gupteswar Acharya, Law Officer is the PIO for the above purpose.

Q-3. What are the duties of a PIO?

Ans. (a) PIO shall deal with requests from persons seeking information and where the request cannot be made in writing, to render reasonable assistance to the person to reduce the same in writing.

(b)If the information requested for is held by or its subject matter is closely connected with the function of another public authority, the PIO shall transfer, within 5 days, the request to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately.

(c) PIO may seek the assistance of any other officer for the proper discharge of his/her duties.

(d)PIO, on receipt of a request, shall as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within 30 days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in S.8 or S.9.

(e) Where the information requested for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

(f) If the PIO fails to give decision on the request within the period specified, he shall be deemed to have refused the request.

(g) Where a request has been rejected, the PIO shall communicate to the requester (a) the reasons for such rejection, (b) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred, and (c) the particulars of the Appellate Authority.

(h) PIO shall provide information in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.

(I) If allowing partial access, the PIO shall give a notice to the applicant, informing:

(i) That only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided;

(ii) The reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based;

(iii) The name and designation of the person giving the decision;

(iv) The details of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which the applicant is required to deposit; and

(v) His or her rights with respect to review of the decision regarding non-disclosure of part of the information, the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided.

(j) If information sought has been supplied by third party or is treated as confidential by that third party, the PIO shall give a written notice to the third party within 5 days from the receipt of the request and take its representation into consideration.

(k) Third party must be given a chance to make a representation before the PIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of such notice.

Q-4. What is the Application Procedure for requesting information?

Ans. (a) Apply in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the PIO, specifying the particulars of the information sought for.

(b) Reason for seeking information is not required to be given.

(c) Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the below poverty line category).

Q-5. What is the time limit to get the information?

Ans. (a) 30 days from the date of application.

(b) 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a person.

(c) 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the application for information is given to Assistant Public Information Officer.

(c) If the interests of a third party are involved then time limit will be 40 days (maximum period + time given to the party to make representation).

(d) Failure to provide information within the specified period is a deemed refusal.

Q-6. What is the fee?

Ans. (a) Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable.

(b) If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated in writing with calculation details of how the figure was arrived at;

(c) Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged by the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority;

(d) No fees will be charged from people living below the poverty line ;

(e) Applicant must be provided information free of cost if the PIO fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.

Q-7. What is not open to disclosure under RTI?

Ans. The following is exempt from disclosure [S.8)]

(a) Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.

(b) Information, which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court.

(c) Information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature.

(d) Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

(e) Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;information received in confidence from foreign Government.

(f) Information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.

(g) Information, which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

(h) Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.

(i) Information which relates to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.

(j) Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above, a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.

Q-8. Is partial disclosure of information is allowed under RTI?

Ans. Only that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information, may be provided. [S.10]

Q-9. What could be the ground for rejection?

Ans. (a) If it is covered by exemption from disclosure. (S.8)

(b) If it infringes copyright of any person other than the State. (S.9)

Q-10. Who are the Appellate Authorities?

Ans.(a) First Appeal: First appeal to the officer senior in rank to the PIO in the concerned Public Authority within 30 days from the expiry of the prescribed time limit or from the receipt of the decision (delay may be condoned by the Appellate Authority if sufficient cause is shown).

(b) Second Appeal: Second appeal to the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission as the case may be, within 90 days of the date on which the decision was given or should have been made by the First Appellate Authority. (Delay may be condoned by the Commission if sufficient cause is shown).

(c) Third Party appeal against PIO's decision must be filed within 30 days before first Appellate Authority; and, within 90 days of the decision on the first appeal, before the appropriate Information Commission which is the second appellate authority.

(d) Burden of proving that denial of Information was justified lies with the PIO.

(e) First Appeal shall be disposed of within 30 days from the date of its receipt. Time period is extendable by 15 days, if necessary. (S.19)

Q-11. What are the penalty provisions for PIO for denying information in any manner?

Ans. Every PIO will be liable for fine of Rs.250 per day, up to a maximum of Rs.25, 000/-, in following condition:

(a) For not accepting an application.

(b) Delaying information release without reasonable cause.

(c) Malafide or denying information.