Monday, December 21, 2009

The RTI Act: Guidelines for seeking information from YEA

The Right to Information Act: Guidelines for seeking information from YEA

Short title, extent and commencement

  • Known as 'Right to Information Act, 2005'.
  • Extends to whole of India except J&K.
  • Has become enforceable with effect from 12th October, 2005
  • It is more powerful and stringent than Delhi RTI 2001

Coverage

  • Covers all public authorities, bodies or institutions constituted by Parliament, Legislative Assembly.
  • Includes Parliament, Supreme Court/High Court/Lower Courts, Bodies owned, controlled and substantially financed.
  • Including Non-government organizations substantially financed directly or indirectly.
  • Govt. empowered to notify or issue orders to include such other bodies.

Citizens made the Master

  • The act provides for giving almost all information to citizens barring a few exceptions.
  • It makes the citizen the Master.
  • They can now do social audit of any work through getting information and examining it critically and posing inconvenient questions.

Public Information Officers to give information

  • Public Information Officers to be appointed by Public Authorities for handling applications received under the Act (by 22.9.2005).
  • Assistant Public Information Officer to be appointed to receive applications on behalf of the Public Authority by( 22.9.2005.)
  • Assistant Public Information officers to be appointed in each Sub-Division/Sub-Districts by (22.9.2005).
  • First Appellate Authority to be within the department/organization by Public Authority

Right to Information includes:

  • Inspection of works, documents, records.
  • Taking notes, extracts, certified copies.
  • Taking certified samples of material.
  • Obtaining information in floppies, tapes etc.
Definition of Information

Information means any material in any form & includes: -

  • Records, documents, memos, e-mail, opinion, advice, orders, log book, contract, reports, papers, samples etc.
Filing of application
  • Forms prescribed.
  • Applicant can file application in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or local language.
  • PIO to assist disabled persons in writing down requests.
  • Reasons for seeking information not required.
  • Personal information about applicant not to be asked except for delivery of reply.

Fee

The following fee has been prescribed by GOI & U.P.Govt.:

  • Application Fee: Rs 10/-
  • Additional Page: Rs 2/ per page A-4 or A-3
  • Large size: Actual Charges
  • Sample or Model: Actual cost
  • Inspection of records: First hour no fee there after Rs 5/- per 15 minutes
  • Floppy/Diskette: Rs 50/-

NO fee for Below Poverty Line

Mode of payment

The fee can be paid in any of the following modes:

  • Cash
  • Demand Draft
  • Banker cheque

Disposal of request

  • In cases information is sought concerning life or liberty, it is to be given in 48 hours.
  • Reply in other cases to be given in 30 days.
  • 5 days to be added if the application is received through SAPIO.
  • In case of third party â€" 40 days.

Appeals

  • Appeals lie at two levels.
  • First appeal within department/ organization to senior officer to State Public Information Officer within 30 days.
  • Second appeal before Central Information Commission within 90 days.
  • Appeals to be decided within 30 days.

Third Party Information

  • Where information about third party is sought by the applicant, a notice will be given to third party to present his case within 5 days.
  • An opportunity of hearing will be given within 10 days.
  • Third party will have right to appeal.

Exemption from disclosure of information

  • As per section 8 the following type of information shall not be obligatory
    to be given.
    • Concerning security and integrity of India.
    • Forbidden to be published by the court of law.
    • Disclosure of which leads to breach of privilege of Parliament/Assembly.
    • Commercial confidence trade secrets and intellectual property.
    • Information received in fiduciary relationship.
    • Information received in confidence from foreign government.
    • Disclosure of which may endanger life and liberty.
    • Which impedes the process of a investigation.
    • Cabinet Papers including record or deliberation.
    • Personal information which has no relationship to any public activity.
    • Leads to infringement of copyright.

Penalty Provisions

  • Can impose penalty @ Rs. 250/- for each day of delay subject to a maximum of Rs. 25,000/-.
  • Can issue directions for disciplinary action against PIO in cases of persistent default.
  • Opportunity of hearing to be given.

Need for prompt attention

  • All Officer and staff members need to be sensitized to pay proper attention to this act.
  • Necessary preparatory measures for implementation should be completed as per prescribed schedule in the Act.
  • Officials need to be vigilant in disposal of requests received under the Act.
  • All requests received under the Act need to be dealt within time frame prescribed.

Other Important Points

  • Assistant Public Information Officer can receive applications for any PIO.
  • First Appellate Authority should be senior to PIO.
  • PIO should be senior officers who should be able to control work and dig out information as they have to perform a quasi judicial information.
  • Clear demarcation of work should be done amongst the PIO and Appellate Authorities to avoid confusion.
  • Notify the substantially financed bodies to bring them under the purview of RTI.

Arrangement for receipt for application.

  • Arrangements for receipt of application & fee should be suitably be made to facilitate the work.
  • Information counters should be setup near reception counters.
  • The APIO/PIO/Appellate Authority should be easily accessible to public.
  • Board depicting room number etc of PIO/APIO should be available at the main entrance.

Role of Secretaries /HODs/CEOs

  • Appoint PIO/APIO
  • Appoint first appellate authority.
  • Identify bodies substantially financed to be brought under the purview of the act.
  • Give wide publicity about the provisions of the act.
  • Organize internal workshops for sensitization of officers and staff.
  • Ensure proper arrangements for receipt of application/fee etc.
  • Provide requisite number of counters for guidance.
  • Prepare suo motu information and disseminate to the maximum.
  • Monitor and control the working of all concerned officers.
Courtesy_

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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Disclaimer

This Blog Spot is meant for publishing reports about the usage of RTI Act (Right to Information Act, 2005) so as to create an awareness to the general public and also to keep it as a ready reckoner by them. So the readers may extend their gratitude towards the Author as we quoted at the bottom of each Post under the title "Courtesy".Furthermore, the Blog Authors are no way responsible for the correctness of the materials published herein and the readers may verify the concerned valuable sources.

Dinamani - RTI News