Right To Information (RTI)
A Must Have Guide
In a world where information is key, the Right to Information (RTI) emerges as the beacon of empowerment for every citizen. Imagine a society where transparency isn't just a buzzword but a living reality.
RTI, the tool that transforms this vision into actuality, stands as a testament to the power vested in the hands of the common person.
Right to Information (RTI), yeh aapka superpower hai jo aapko har public authority se transparency aur accountability maangne mein madad karega.
According to the Right to Information Act of 2005, Indian citizen possess the legal right to demand access to any data retained by any governmental entity, ranging from local governing bodies to the office of the Prime Minister. That's right, anything from construction plans for that new park, to details on how your taxes are being spent, it has become a fair game now!
In an instance, through an RTI request, irregularities in the distribution of food rations in a remote village in India were exposed. Armed with information, villagers were able to pressure the authorities for a fair and transparent system. Now Imagine the possibilities about what all information can we gather through an RTI application!
What is RTI?
RTI, yaani ki Right to Information, sabse simple taur par, aapka adhikar hai sawalon ka jawab maangne ka aur woh bhi unse jo power mein hain. Yeh kuch aisa hai jaise aapke paas hamesha ek virtual "Question Hour" ho, jahana apki si bhi public authority se jab chahein sawaal kar sakte hain!
Here's how it works:
You have a question: Shayad aap local infrastructure project ki progress ke baare mein jaanna chahte hain, ya phir yeh dekhna chahte hain ki kisi sarkari yojna ko kaise laagu kiya ja raha hai.
You file an RTI request: This is like sending a formal letter to the concerned public authority, asking them to provide the information you seek.
They have to answer: Under the RTI Act, they are obligated to provide you with the information within a specified time frame, which is usually 30 days basically.
Who can file a RTI application?
Every Indian citizen, including those residing outside India, has an inherent right to seek information. This means that an entity requesting the information must be an individual, and not a government agency, corporation, or society. Foreign nationals and persons of Indian Origin are not eligible to receive any such information under the Act.
What kind of information can you ask through an RTI request?
That’s the beauty of RTI – it covers almost everything as the ambit of the definition of “information” under the RTI Act, 2005 is very vast! You can request information on:
Documents, files, reports, data, and any other records held by a public authority.
Decisions, policies, and procedures of government bodies.
Expenditure of public funds.
Performance of public officials.
Implementation of government schemes and programs.
Are there any exceptions?
The RTI Act of 2005 clearly states that any information that cannot be denied to the Parliament or State Legislature should also not be denied to a citizen. However, there are a few limited exemptions to it, but they mainly protect national security, personal privacy, and certain confidential matters. But even these exemptions can be challenged if you think they are being misused.
How to file an RTI request?
Filing an RTI request is easier than you might think.
Here's a step-by-step guide:
1. Identify the Right Authority:
Determine karo kaunsa public authority ya private body, jise public authority ke through access hai, woh information rakhta hai jo aapko chahiye. It could be a government department, a local municipality, a public corporation, or even a school or hospital.
2. Prepare Your Application:
You can write your RTI application on plain paper in any language you're comfortable with. No need for fancy legal jargon!
Include the following details:
Your name, address, and contact information.
The name of the public authority you're addressing.
A clear and concise description of the information you're seeking.
The fee (if applicable) – usually Rs. 10 for central government agencies and varying for state authorities.
3. Choose Your Submission Mode:
For Online Application:
Many public authorities have online RTI portals where you can submit your application directly.
Check the websites of the relevant authority for their online RTI facility.
For Offline Application:
You can also submit your application in person or by post to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the concerned authority.
Find their address on their official website or office notice board.
Also, In order to facilitate the public's access to information, the central government has designated several post offices throughout the nation as APIOs (Assistant Public Information Officers) where members of the public may submit RTI requests or appeals concerning any government public authority.
4. Keep Track of Deadlines:
The PIO is obligated to provide you with the information within 30 days of receiving your application.
If they need more time, they can extend it by another 30 days, but they must inform you of the reasons for the delay.
5. Receive Your Information:
You'll typically receive the information through post, email, or you can collect it in person. If you're not satisfied with the response, you can file an appeal to the higher authority.
Thus, it can be said that not only does the Right to Information Act promote open and transparent government, but it also helps to minimize the problem of cancerous corruption inside public agencies.
In accordance with the terms of RTI Act, every public authority is obligated to furnish the public with information. It allows regular individuals to question the government on its policies and data. Therefore, this law facilitates oversight of the data by the layman of the Country instead of the government.