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How to file Online RTI Application - Right to Information Act 2005 the Anti-Corruption Brahmastra? All FAQs

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In our religious texts we read about divine weapons which used to unleash devastation on forces of demons. One such weapon was Brahmastra. It is said Brahmastra was weapon which never missed its target and was comparable to today’s nuclear weapons. Right to Information Act 2005 is also a kind of Brahmastra, from fire power of it, corrupt officials and politicians cannot escape. The most amazing thing is that this weapon has been given to us by none other than the government itself whom we curse for everything wrong and all kinds of corruption. Many times, government had to divulge information which only exposed its own wrong doings, like those in 2G scam, Coal scam, Corona virus bunglings etc.


Drafting and filing of Online RTI application through us is available for Rs 299/- + Tax.

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Summary:

RTI Act 2005 empowers citizens of India to write letter to Public Information Officer (PIO) of any Government Department, Ministry, Company or Bank and seek information related to his own interest or public interest. Under this act you cannot seek personal information of some other individual. PIO has to reply within 30 days from receipt of letter. If you do not get reply or are not satisfied with reply of PIO then you can file appeal to Appellate Authority within next 30 days. Appellate authority is higher ranking officer in the same department. If you still do not get any reply or are not satisfied with the reply then you can file application with Chief Information Commissioner. This too needs to be done within next 30 days. Since there is backlog of cases, response from CIC can take time of several months.

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What is Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005? - Online RTI Application

In year 2005 Government of India passed a revolutionary Act in Parliament and thus came The Right to Information Act, simply known as RTI Act 2005. Since, childhood you would have seen Members of Parliament raising questions in Parliament and related Ministers answering those questions. So, for the first time in India a similar right was being given to ordinary citizens of the country to raise questions to the government officers. Any information which is available for the Member of Parliament is also available to a person from general public. RTI Act made the concerned governments officers, bound to answer those questions in time bound manner. Before passing of this act many states already had one law or the other authorising their residents to seek information from government officers. However, after passage of this Act, it superseded all those laws.

To seek information from govt officers you need to be citizen of India. However, there is no need to attach any documentary proof of your citizenship with your application, just declaration of the same on application letter is fair enough.

India passed this law in 2005 but several countries of the world had such laws since several decades back. One such law is Freedom of Information Act in US, empowering their residents and citizens.

There were times when you would apply for a Passport or for PF refund or any other service from a government department and wait would just not end. When you would visit department, you would be treated like animal. But a lot has now changed. If you do not get satisfactory response you can file RTI application and ask why your task is getting delayed, reason for delay and ways to rectify the shortcomings. Even better is that you do not need to go to any department at all, just shoot off the RTI application. Concerned officer has to reply you within 30 days of receipt of your letter, failing which he will have to bear monetary penalty and also matter can be reported to senior authorities in his department.

People have gone a step further and asked about status of development work in their village, city or locality. Asked about bad situation of roads or poor or no water being supplied at their homes. Possibilities are just limitless.

Coal scam was unearthed by some RTI activist only - when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister of India. Back to top of page


Where is Right to Information Act (RTI) Act 2005 applicable? - Online RTI Application

Initially, different state governments were passing their own laws in respect to Right to Information Act. They all had their own set of rules and regulations. However, in 2005 the central government passed Right to Information Act which was applicable pan India. This superseded all the different Acts which different state governments had passed. Now, one Act and one set of rules are applicable throughout India. However, it is not applicable in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir which still has its own laws for this.

When it comes to fees charged by different states, then we would like to tell you that in most of the cases it Rs 10 and in rare cases goes upto Rs 50. Fee is payable in case of filing application with Public Information Officer only. Subsequent filing with Appellate Authority and Chief Information Commissioner are not chargeable. Back to top of page


What is the procedure of filing Online RTI Application? - Online RTI Application

For some states there are particular formats while for others there is no such format for to file RTI Application. Any and all the citizens of this country can file it. However, for ease of yourself and the concerned officer, following points should be kept in mind:

1. Write the application in neat handwriting or better get it typed. You can write it in official language of the state or in English. Your letter should be in the name of Public Information Officer of that department. Please mention the correct address of that officer/department

2. Please ask your questions with courtesy but without fear. Its better to raise them in short and precise points. Do not try to cover too many questions or questions which are not relevant to that officer.

3. Start your application letter introducing yourself by your name, address and declaring that you are citizen of India.

4. You can hand deliver your application to the concerned Public Information Officer and take acknowledgement on photocopy of your application. Otherwise, you can send it by speed post or better still with AD card. Check the delivery status after few days on India Post website and if delivered take printout of it for your record.

5. If you are guiding about RTI filing to someone who is illiterate then you can tell him that he can visit the Public Information Officer and narrate the requirement and the PIO will write it and read it to applicant and then process it. Back to top of page


Can I file Online RTI Application?

Like numerous other facilities, RTI Application can also be filed online. You can go to the concerned State or Central Government and file your queries there after paying the required fee. However, you can also avail services of Independent service providers like us to avail the services. The advantage you have while filing through us is that you will have Professionally drafted application by those who are expert in this task. You will pay very nominal additional fee on our website to avail services apart from what you are required to pay as per law. You do not even have to write anything at all, instead our expert will call you, note down your concerns and draft the required application. Back to top of page


Which Departments, Banks, Ministries, companies etc. covered under RTI Act? - Online RTI Application

You will be glad to know that there is no government ministry or department whether State or Central that can refuse to give information under this act. Not just ministries – Municipal corporations, Government Banks, PF department, Railways, Government Companies, Government Schools, Colleges and Universities, Courts of Justice etc are all covered under this Act. However, there are certain restrictions where matters of security and integrity of India are involved, therefore, not every query asked about Armed forces or Ministry of Defense are answerable.

You can also ask about expenditure done by your village and zilla authorities on your area development and under what heads. Similarly, you can ask details of Local Area Development Fund of MLAs and MPs. You can ask about amount spent on their personal comforts. Through Online RTI you can ask about quality and consistency of water and electricity supply in your area.

Through Online RTI we can ask officers to provide photocopies of the documents which they hold. We can also ask them to provide copies of their Minutes of meeting for the meetings they have conducted. However, they may ask more money like 1 rupee for each photocopy supplied. Alternatively, we can visit their offices and take copies with our smartphone also.

You can also ask for copies of emails, fax or documented records of phone conversation, if any, they had among themselves. Back to top of page


Are all departments bound to provide information? - Online RTI Application

No, there are certain government departments which have been kept out of purview of RTI Act as they are critical for national security. These are usually Defence, Intelligence and Armed Forces.

Apart from that, there are certain conditions where information is deniable under RTI Act, so we need to bear that in mind, these are:
o Where providing information may affect national security and integrity.
o Which matter are sub judice and/or have already been disallowed.
o Matters which may be detrimental to India’s relation with foreign nations etc.
o You cannot ask government bank to release account statement of any other individual or company.
o You cannot ask Income tax department to provide you copy of income tax return of any other individual
o You cannot ask police department to provide you copy of FIR where personal information is stored and which is not related to you.
o You cannot ask investigating agencies if providing information may put their investigation in jeopardy. Back to top of page


How can I solve Personal matters like PF, Income tax, Marksheet etc using RTI Act?

Gone are the days when you were made to do rounds of government offices to get your passport made or to withdraw your PF or get your property registered or get your driving license. You do not even need to pay bribes to officer sitting and holding your file. No need to even search for middlemen outside government offices to use their contacts to get the work done. In certain cases you can also ask department provide you reasons for delay or rejection of your application for PMRY, agricultural etc loans. Using RTI you can ask following questions:
o What is the status of my application? o What is the time limit to dispose such application as mine and what time it has actually taken?
o What is the reason for the delay?
o Provide the names of the officers who are processing my file? Are they delaying my file unreasonably?
o What action can department take against officers who are delaying my file? Why such action has not already been taken for the delay?
o What is the expected time by when my file will be processed?
The questions asked above are not easy to answer for officer who are deficient in their duties and holding your file. It can be expected that before answering above kind of questions they will prefer to process your file and give response in complying tone. Back to top of page


How can I solve Social or Community issues using RTI Act 2005?

Not just personal matters you can raise RTI application for the matters related to your colony, village or city. You can ask questions related to the government school in village or city where your children study. You can ask authorities if they are aware of the potholes which lie on roads around your office or home and what action have they taken to rectify that problem. You can ask the name of contractor working on road construction in your village. Has that company ever been black listed for inferior quality of work done. Why this company only has been selected for the work. In case of school you can ask how many teachers are sanctioned and how many are actually working. What are their timings or what are their qualifications etc. Back to top of page


What are the samples where RTI Act 2005 is helpful?

Following are a few examples of Personal cases where RTI can be filed:
o Delay/rejection of loan application by government department or bank
o Issues related to voter card
o Pendency of PF application
o Pendency of PF Transfer
o Issues related to Passport
o Issues related Aadhar card
o Police action on FIR filed by you
o Status of your job application etc.

Following are a few examples of Social causes where RTI can be filed:
o Bad condition of school building
o Bad condition of roads o Sanitary conditions of drains and sewers etc.
o Non removal of garbage from your locality
o Illegal construction around your locality
o Inadequate policing in crime prone areas
o Absence of Traffic police at areas prone to jams Back to top of page


Can RTI Act 2005 be used in fighting Corruption?

RTI Act has been formulated to bring transparency in working of various government departments. It can be used as an anti-corruption tool as well as force efficiency in departments which are know being lethargic and inefficient. Any department in which your file is behind schedule has to provide you reason for it.

RTI makes every department bound by time limit of 30 days to furnish information failing which the concerned Public Information Officer is subject to penalties levied for every day of delay in information. Apart from fine, other disciplinary actions can also be taken against him.

RTI Act has provisions for disciplining inept and rogue officers. For this reason, there are Information Commissions headed by Chief Information Commissioner. There is also Central Information Commission for the Central Government. If you are dissatisfied with PIO and also the Appellant Authority then you can approach these Information Commissions. Back to top of page


What are the timelimits under RTI Act 2005?

There is set limit of 30 days for PIO to respond the queries of applicant. This limit starts from the day PIO receives your application. In case there is reason beyond his control for the delay in information then he can convey the same to you and ask you to bear in the meantime. In normal conditions if he fails to provide information within set time limit, you can approach next level for information as well appeal for action to be taken against errant officer. Back to top of page


What is the fees payable to different State and Central government departments under RTI Act 2005?

Most of the states charge nominal fee of Rs 10 while some may also charge 50 to 100 rupees. Central government fee is fixed Rs 10. Fee for people belol poverty line (BPL) is zero. The most convenient way to pay the fee is to attach Indian Postal Order (IPO) of Rs 10. Please bear in mind, you cannot pay fee in cash. IPOs are acceptable by all the states and central governments. You can place IPO in the envelop along with your RTI Application.

After receipt of application, officer may assess and ask you to pay additional fee as prescribed in law. You can pay/send additional fee via post or by hand. It is wise to take photocopy of IPO for your record purpose. Back to top of page


Miscellaneous FAQs:

Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 is an Act passed by Parliament on India authorising people to ask questions and seek information from government officers about public and their own personal matters

Anyone who is citizen of India can file RTI Application and seek information and answers to his questions

In case PIO fails to respond or gives unsatisfactory answers then to you can file application to First Appelate Authority within same department within next 30 days.

Amount of Rs 299/399 includes Postal and Printing charges, Government fees and Drafting & Admin fee.


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