The Right to Information Act, also known as RTI, is a revolutionary Act that aims to promote transparency in government institutions in India. RTI Act has been made by legislation of Parliament of India on 15 June 2005. The Act came into effect on 12 October 2005 and has been implemented ever since to provide information to crores of Indian citizens. All the constitutional authorities come under this Act, making it one of the most powerful laws of the country.
It is termed revolutionary because it opens government organisations up for scrutiny. This law casts a direct accountability on the officer for non-performance. If concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penalty of r. 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner. If the provided information is false of incomplete or for rejecting application for malafide reasons a heavy penalty is deductible from the officer’s personal salary. Equipped with knowledge about RTI, a common man can demand any government agency to furnish information.
Rights Available under RTI Act 2005:
- Ask any questions from the Government or seek any information.
- Take copies of any Government documents.
- Inspect any Government document.
- Inspect any Government works.
- Take samples of materials of any Government work.
How to File RTI?
Every Indian should know about RTI filing.The procedure to File RTI is simple and hassle-free.
- Write the application (or get it typed, your choice) on a paper in English/Hindi/the official language of the state. Some states have prescribed format for RTI applications. Address it to the PIO (Public Information Officer) of the department concerned.
- Ask specific questions. See to it that they are clear and complete, and not confusing whatsoever.
- Write your full name, contact details and address, where you want the information/response to your RTI be sent.
- Take a photocopy of the application for your record. If you’re sending the application by post, it’s advisable to send it via registered post, as then you will have an acknowledgement of your request’s delivery. If you’re submitting the application to the PIO in person, remember to take an acknowledgement from him/her.
The Act is very people-friendly that if an illiterate person approaches a PIO and wants some info under the RTI, he/she can tell his requirement to the PIO and the officer is obliged to write it down for them and read it to them before processing it.
One need not write the application on a clean sheet of paper. Even a crumpled, old, torn piece of paper will do, so long as your written content on it is legible.
Until the RTI Act empowered the common man to demand information from government, only the members of Parliament had the privilege of seeking this information.
If you are hesitant about sending your RTI application by post and can’t take a day off work to catch hold of the PIO concerned, you can go to your post office and submit your application to the assistant PIO. The postal department has appointed many APIOs across its many offices. Their job is to receive RTI applications and forward them to the PIO or appellate authority concerned.
How to File Online RTI?
Currently, Central and a few State government departments have facility for filing Online RTI. However, there are multiple independent websites that let you file your application online. With the following link you can file a online.
Time-limit Prescribed in Act:
If you file your application with PIO, you must receive information within 30 days. If you have filed you application with Assistant PIO then information has to be made available within 35 days. In cases where the information demanded pertains to life and liberty of a person, such information has to be made available in 48 hours.
RTI Official Websites:
You can visit Authentic informations to know more about RTI filing;
- A citizen gate-away for RTI: https://rtionline.gov.in/index.php
- User Manual for the Official website: https://rtionline.gov.in/um_citizen.pdf
- File your RTI request: https://rtionline.gov.in/guidelines.php?request
- FAQ’s About RTI Act: https://rtionline.gov.in/faq.php
- Right to information Act: https://rti.gov.in
- RTI Videos/ Audios: https://rti.gov.in/rti_anthem.asp
Attacks on RTI activists in India:
Many Right to Information Act (RTI) activists have been harassed and even murdered for seeking information to “promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority” in India. Many of such activists face assaults on a regular basis. People seeking information from the local administration also face harassment. A few activists who sought information under RTI related to MNREGA scams, were killed. Many of such threats and attacks (including murder) go unreported by the media.
Media reports of more than 300 instances of attacks on or harassment of citizens and at least 51 murders and 5 suicides can be linked to information sought under The Right to Information Act. Maharashtra followed by Gujarat tops the list for states with the most attacks on RTI users.
But not to worry now there are NGO’s which file RTI’s on behalf so that your name doesn’t get involved. There are many NGO’s which work for this cause.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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