Q. Who is Public Information Officer (PIO)?
A. Public Information Officers (PIOs) are the government officers who act as a point of contact in every Government Department, and who are supposed to correspond with the people who willing to seek any information. PIOs are the representative of certain governmental organizations which can include city, county, school district, state government and police departments. PIOs receive applications from the people; they gather the information from the respective Department and then dispatch that information to the applicant. They can be classified under two groups:
1) Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) - Officers who correspond to questions asked to any central authority.
2) State Public Information Officers (SPIOs) – Officers who correspond to questions asked to any state authority.
Q. Who is Central Information Commission (CIC)?
A. In case, a person has been denied any information that he/she asked for, he/she may file Appeal/Complaint before the Central Information Commission (CIC). It shall be duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person. The Commission includes one Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
Q. When was the RTI Act established?
A. The Central Right to Information Act became effective on the 12th October, 2005. However, prior to that 9 state Governments had passed state Acts. These were J & K, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam & Goa. It put down down the process on how to apply for information, where to apply, how much fees etc.
Q. What citizen can avail for under RTI Act 2005?
A. Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen right to -
- Ask any information/questions from the Government authority which can be any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, logbooks, contracts, reports, models, data material in any electronic form
- Analyse and examine any of the government documents.
Q. What is the time limit in which we should expect the reply from the PIO/APIO?
- If the RTI application is filed with the PIO, we must receive required information within 30 days.
- If the application is filed with Assistant PIO then information has to be made available within 35 days.
- If the matter is related to the life and liberty of an individual, information has to be made available in 48 hours.
- In case the third party is involved in asking the question, it should take 40 days
- If the information required is in relation to human rights violation it can take 45 days.
Q. How much time does RTINation take to process an application?
RTINation generally takes 2-3 business days to process an application. However in cases which require additional details it may take more time.
Q. What penalties can be charged on the PIO if the information is delayed?
If the concerned PIO does not provide information in time, complaints can be filed against him for violation of the Act to Information Commission, which can impose penalties. These penalties amount to Rs 250 per day of delay and if the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25000 can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete or for rejecting application for malafide reasons. This fine fees is deducted from the officer’s personal salary.
Q. When to File an Appeal?
If you do not receive information within 30 days or if you are not satisfied with the response received, you can file an appeal. The first appeal is to be filed with the officer senior to the PIO in the same Department. He is to take a decision within 30 days of your filing the appeal. If you do not get a satisfactory response within 30 days from the first appellate authority also, please file the second appeal with Information Commission. If you asked for information from a state government department, your appeal will go to State Information Commission. If it is Central government department, your appeal will go to Central Information Commission.
Q. Can the PIO refuse to give me information?
A PIO can refuse information on 11 subjects that are listed in section 8 of the RTI Act. These include information received in confidence from foreign governments, information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc.
There is a list of 18 agencies given in second schedule of the Act to which RTI Act does not apply. However, they also have to give information if it relates to matters pertaining to allegations of corruption or human rights violations.
Q. After how many days can I expect a reply if I file an appeal on RTINation.com?
The PIO takes 30-40 days to reply to your application. We like to take an additional margin of 10 days for processing your application and making sure it reaches the desire person. So you can expect a reply anywhere between 40-55 days. Also to be noted is that we are currently operating in the Beta phase so there may be additional delays.
Q. Is the reply from the department sent to me or rtination.com?
Reply from the department is directly sent to you.
Q. Additional fees for accessing documents etc.?
Incase you have requested for government records etc. the department will send you a letter elaborating the cost of the same. You thereafter need to send the required amount to the department as per the mode of payment mentioned by the department. We currently do not send additional fees on your behalf, although this service maybe started shortly.