How to File RTI Application - Hemant Goswami


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Presentation by Hemant Goswami on how to file "Right to Information" aApplication.

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How to File RTI Application - Hemant Goswami

  1. 1. Hemant Goswami
  2. 2. What Role Does the State have? To ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and everyone is ……………… 2. Enjoying it within reasonable parameters of ‘Civility’ ………… i.e. …….. In accordance with the mutually agreed upon safeguards for uniform enjoyment of natural rights … [Constitution and Laws] State has no business to walk even a small step further than this ….
  3. 3. In India Chapter III of the Indian Constitution can said to be India’s declaration of Human Rights Despite this, there have been numerous dilutions …. We have also carried over the burden of our legacy of oppression ……. Carried it forward from the unfair rulers and occupiers with little application of mind. Article 19(1)(a) can be said to be the First Right
  4. 4. Article 19(1)(a) 19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. - (1) All citizens shall have the right- (a) To freedom of speech and expression; There can be no freedom, if there is no “Freedom of Speech.” In all oppressions, freedom of expression is the first causality …. In INDIA we have never seen true ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression.’ If this right is not ensured (and safeguarded) then we are bound to loose our freedom and democracy
  5. 5. What is RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) A legislation (Act) passed by the Indian Parliament in 2005 Citizen’s right to obtain information from any public authority relating to its administration, operations or decisions. A fundamental democratic right. It is a human right to access information, to seek receive and impart information The fundamental right to freedom of expression and upon which all other rights depend
  6. 6. RTI and 19(1)(a) If free flow of information is missing, then how can there be freedom of speech and expression? Open and free dialogue is possible only when sufficient information is available for further deliberations and discussion Dialogue, discussions and expression must be free from any retaliation or oppressive/suppressive action
  7. 7. Right to Information RTI is part of this basic Human Right …….. It’s the most basic of the rights Makes it mandatory on the custodian/trustees for safeguarding ‘Civility’ to share all information, inputs and output which was processed during the ‘Service to the Public/Humanity’ Intents to open up dialogue for necessary corrective action and ensure development in the right and desired direction Protect equal distribution of good among all ……….. All other rights dependent on this right
  8. 8. Use of RTI for corrective action What RTI is being used for since 2005 • Exposing wrongs done to oneself • Public resources • Exposing public corruption • Speeding up the process without the SPEED…money • Corrective policy intervention by citizen groups
  9. 9. What RTI has actually done Brought greater degree of ‘freedom of speech and expression’ …….. paved way for comprehensive human rights This single act has helped human rights more than anything else
  10. 10. Provisions under the RTI Act PROCESS OF FILING AN RTI APPLICATION Information can be sought under Section 4/6 Application filed under Section 6 Can seek information but not ask questions/ opinions Information has to be provided within 30 days If no information is provided, first appeal (Under section 19) within the public authority (usually a senior officer) is made after 30 days If you are still not satisfied, file a second appeal (Under section 19) with Information Commission within 90 days If no reply is received, file a complaint (under section 18) directly with the Information Commissioner
  11. 11. Section 2 Section 2 (f) – Information ‘means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force’ Section 2 (i) – record includes (a) any document, manuscript & file; (b) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; (c) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and (d) any other material produced by a computer or any other device
  12. 12. What is RTI? Section 2 (j) – right to information means ‘the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to- (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device
  13. 13. Who is a Public Authority Section 2 (h) – Public authority means ‘any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by state legislature; (d) by notification issued or made by the appropriate government, and includes any • (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; • (ii) non-government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government’
  14. 14. Pro- Pro-Active Disclosure Section 4 – Every Public Authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerized are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerized and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records facilitated – also to provide the information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet – dissemination, keeping in mind the cost effectiveness, local language.
  15. 15. How to File a RTI Application? Section 6 – File an RTI Application Under Section 6 Section 6. (1) A person, who desires to obtain any information under this Act, shall make a request in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, accompanying such fee as may be prescribed, to— (a) the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or State Public Information Officer (SPIO), as the case may be, of the concerned public authority; (b) the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, specifying the particulars of the information sought by him or her: Provided that where such request cannot be made in writing, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing.
  16. 16. How to Draft? No specific format is required Address to PIO followed by address of the department Application should contain; Name Address Kind of Information (To help the PIO) Duration for which information required (To help the PIO) Exact Information, as required; preferably paragraph wise Inspection clause, if you also wish to inspect the file Details of the fee deposited (Can be deposited by PO, DD, Cash, etc)
  17. 17. How to Draft? Some practical guidelines:- Be brief to the extent possible Don’t ask questions/ opinion which do not exist on files Can ask questions and seek answers of all such subjects which exist on any document, file noting Be clear and to the point Cover all possibilities to avoid possible evasion to answer; and be as specific as possible Always request for inspection of documents in addition to information request
  18. 18. Let’ Let’s draft a RTI request APPLICATION UNDER THE “RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT” INFORMATION REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 4(1)(c)/(d) AND 6 Date : July 23, 2009 Reference No : BBS/2009/PMO/236 PIO FROM WHOM INFORMATION IS REQUIRED: Central Public Information Officer, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Nirman Bhawan, Maulana Azad Rd. New Delhi - 110 001 NAME OF THE APPLICANT: Hemant Goswami ADDRESS: Hemant Goswami, Tobacco Free India Coalition C/o Burning Brain Society, #3, Glass Office, Business Arcade, Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17-E, Chandigarh 160017 Telephone: +91-172-5165555 E-Mail:
  19. 19. Let’ Let’s draft a RTI request To help the PIO: SUBJECT MATTER OF INFORMATION REQUIRED: Information pertains to the use and provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act and Rules. Specific information w.r.t. implementation of provisions related to “Pictorial warnings” on tobacco products is sought. Minutes of the meeting of GoM on the issue is also requested. DURATION FOR WHICH INFORMATION IS REQUIRED: Information is required for the last three years or as specifically mentioned in this application. Information be provided till the date of providing complete reply under this RTI Application and/or till the date of final disposal of this RTI application.
  20. 20. Let’ Let’s draft a RTI request DESCRIPTION OF INFORMATION REQUIRED: 1) Provide certified copies of all letters and communication (Whether electronic or otherwise) written/sent /received and /or carried out by the office of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare between January 1, 2005 to date, with any other ministry and/or authority of Government of India or any State Government w.r.t the issue of Pictorial Warning on tobacco products. 2) Provide certified copies of all notifications, orders, instructions and communication by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the issue related to “Picture warning” on tobacco products. 3) Provide certified copies of minutes of all such meetings (Since January 1, 2005 to the date of supply of information) in which the issue of “graphic warnings” or “pictorial warnings” or any other kind of warnings on tobacco products has been discussed. 4) Provide certified copies of minutes of all meetings (Since January 1, 2005 to the date of supply of information) by the “Group of Ministers” in which the issue of “graphic warnings” or “pictorial warnings” or any other kind of warnings on tobacco products has been discussed. 5) Provide certified copies of minutes of all meetings and/or interactions (Since January 1, 2005 to the date of supply of information) with any other Ministry of Government of India in which the issue of “graphic warnings” or “pictorial warnings” or any other kind of warnings on tobacco products has been discussed. 6) Provide certified copies of all communication received from any political leader, party and/or functionary in which the issue of “graphic warnings” or “pictorial warnings” or any other kind of warnings on tobacco products has been raised. 7) Etc……………..
  21. 21. Let’ Let’s draft a RTI request INSPECTION CLAUSE: After the supply of the information from Para 1 to 15, the undersigned would, at his discretion, also like to inspect all the records (both electronic and paper records), documents/letters, communication, notes, books, ledgers, account books, etc. and the files which are relied by your department and/or on the basis of which the information to the above-mentioned request is supplied/to be provided. Kindly provide the working hours of your office and the name, contact details and exact location of the record officer/other officials in whose custody the said records are available and can be inspected. a. The undersigned requests you to provide extracts, copies of documents and vouchers, certified copies, electronic documents, e-mails and relevant portion/noting of any and all the documents required by the applicant after the inspection by the applicant (and/or his representative) or otherwise. During the inspection, the applicant may be allowed to take notes from the documents and seek copies of all or any of the documents available in paper or electronic format. b. Provide the unique file-numbers/ record-number of all the files (as assigned to them) on the basis of which the above mentioned information record/information (as sought in this application) is being / to be
  22. 22. Let’ Let’s draft a RTI request OTHER DETAILS The information may also be e-mailed at the e-mail address In case any specific information head require payment of any further fee; the rest of the information may not be withheld and be provided immediately. The complete information as requested along with the intimation about the working hours during which the undersigned can make inspection must be intimated through e-mail immediately. • The details of fee deposited is as under; • A sum of Rs. 10/- is deposited vide IPO No. XXXXX dated xx/yy/zzzz drawn on ‘Account Officer/ PIO, Name of the Department’
  23. 23. If improper information is received File First Appeal Under Section 19: [Simple one paragraph appeal] Address to: First Appellate Authority, Name of the Department Subject: First Appeal Under RTI Act An appeal is hereby made to you to request your good self that all the information as requested through my RTI applications, bearing reference number and date as mentioned above, be provided immediately. The information, as provided is deficient on the following grounds; • 1. XXXXXXXXXXX • 2. YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY Sd/-
  24. 24. If no information is still received If not satisfied even after first appeal; File Second appeal to Information Commission Check – Attach your RTI Application (Self attested) Proof of Payments Any reply you have received (Self attested) Index the documents; make proper itemized complaint, stick to the information sought and that which has not been provided. If no information is received, file a direct complaint under Section 18 to the Information Commission. No need to file the first appeal in such cases.
  25. 25. What you can do? Can you take complete responsibility of 50 yards radius around you? My Philosophy of Citizens’ Action
  26. 26. Thank You Questions & Comments Hemant Goswami