The main objective of RTI Act is to provide information for citizens, to secure access to information under the control of public Authorities and in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every Public Authority.
All the material shall be disseminated taking into consideration the cost effectiveness, local languages and the most effective method of communication in that local area and the information should be easily accessible, to the extent possible in electronic format available with free or at such cost of the medium or the print cost price as may be prescribed.
Information shall ordinarily be provided in the form 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 the question.
"Public Authority" means
- By or under the Constitution
- By any other law made by Parliament
- By any other law made by State Legislature
- By notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government
and includes any…
- Body owned, controlled or substantially financed
- Non-Government organization substantially financed
"Right to information" means
- Inspection of work, documents , records
- Taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records
- 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.
Important provisions for PIO/FAA
- To dispose the request of the applicant within 30 days from the date of receipt of the request.
- To dispose the request of the applicant within 48 hours, if information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person of the receipt of the request.
- To transfer the application or such part of the request of the applicant to other Public Authority within 5 days from the date of request of the applicant and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer.
- To provide information with free of charge, if fails to comply the time limits to provide information.
- To indicate the (i) reasons for such rejection (ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred and (iii) the particulars of the appellate authority where a request has been rejected.
- To dispose the first appeal within 30 days or within such extended period not exceeding a total 45 days from the date of filing the appeal by the applicant.
- Impose penalty of Rs. 250 each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed Rs. 25,000 by Central / State Information Commission, if, without reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information.
- Deemed PIO – An officer, whose assistance has been sought for information, shall render all assistance to PIO, seeking his or her assistance and for the purpose of any contravention of the provisions o the Act, such other Officer shall be treated as PIO.
- The definition of information cannot include within its fold answers to the question “why” which would be same thing as asking the reason for a justification for a particular thing. The public information authorities cannot expect to communicate to the citizen the reason why a certain thing was done or not done in the sense of a justification because the citizen makes a requisition about information. Justifications are matter within the domain of adjudicating authorities and cannot properly be classified as information.
- According to section 2(f) of the Act ‘information’ means ‘any material in any form’. A citizen, under the Act, has a right to get ‘material’ from a public authority which is held by or under the control of that public authority. The right includes inspection of work, documents, records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; taking certified samples of material; taking 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. Careful reading of the definition of ‘information’ and ‘right to information’ makes it clear that a citizen has a right to get the material, inspect the material, take notes from the material, take extracts or certified copies of the material, take samples of the material, take the material in the form of diskettes etc. The PIO is required to supply such material to the citizen who seeks it. The Act, however, does not require the Public Information Officer to deduce some conclusion from the ‘material’ and supply the ‘conclusion’ so deduced to the applicant. The PIO is required to supply the ‘material ‘in the form as held by the public authority and is not required to do research on behalf of the citizen to deduce anything from the material and then supply it to him.