Right to Information Act

This article is to help know what RTI is and what the simple steps are to apply for our rights and government duties. In this it also shows the format of an RTI request towards the PIO. Also, where the RTI failed to produce post mortems for two prominent figures of our country, namely Gandhiji and Lal Bahadur Sashtri is also clearly mentioned. Read on to find out.

About the RTI.

1. Any Citizen with proper ID card above the age of 18 can apply for information from any government department except security agencies.
2. Right to information is a constitutional right. And to facilitate this, RTI act is passed.
3.For government servants it is the constitutional duty to provide the same to citizens.
4. There is no official format to request. On plain white paper we can send a hand written request.
Authorities (whom we are requesting) cannot ask the seeker why he is seeking the information. Authorities cannot threaten bribe the seeker. No authority can ask the seeker to come to the office to take the requested information. Authorities cannot say they are busy or overloaded with work. If they delay or give wrong information they will be fined Rs 250 per day up to Rs 25 000.

Where and Whom to apply.

In every office one government officer will be designated as PIO. (Public Information Officer.) He has to be addressed.

Fees under RTI.

To obtain information from government offices in villages no fees need to be paid.
To obtain information from government offices at Tehsil/Mandal level Rs 5 has to be paid as fee per request.
To obtain information from above Tehsil/Mandal level (up to PMO office) Rs 10 fees to be paid per request.
If the seeker is below BPL (below poverty line) he need not pay any fees. He has to attach the photocopy of his white ration card with address.
The fees can be paid either in cash, Indian postal order, court fees stamp, bank chalan, bank demand draft.
The PIO must give the receipt of such request or a photocopy of such request as a proof of request under RTI.
PIO must provide the sought information in a day if the said information is available. If not he should provide the same within 30 days from the day of such seeking information.

Duties of PIOs.

They must take every request under RTI and provide information.
They have to assist the seeker of information in filing under RTI.
If the requested information is not given within the specified time limit it is considered as violation of law. All information provided after such expiration of time should be given FREE OF COST.
PIO cannot cite the work load or official work burdens in not taking RTI requests.
If for some reason the seeker of information cannot give a written request then PIO has to write down the request and issue the receipt of such said request.
PIOs should not threaten the seekers or ask them to come to their offices to take the information.
If there is any threats that come from PIOs then the competent authority to complain are District Collector, Superintendent of Police. It is their duty to provide protection to seeker of information under RTI from any such official threats.

Duties of seeker under RTI.

Information should not be sought only to harass the employees or PIOs.
Information sought should help the individual or society or community at large.
Treat employees of government offices as friends.
Do not threaten government officers.
Mention your address very clearly so the sought information will arrive at your door step correctly.

Simple format of RTI request.

Dear PIO, Date.
Office Name.
Dear Sir,
With this request please authenticate and provide the information sought at the earliest.
Sincerely, Address:

Where the RTI failed

Mahatma Gandhi's Post mortem Report.
Since his assassination the post mortem report of Mahatma Gandhi was never published, submitted to any court etc. If 'fundamentalists' assassinated him, then why didn't the government ever produce this post mortem report any where? What is there to hide in it? If the government wants to suppress the 'fundamentalists', this is the best opportunity show the post mortem. But why such things never happened for 60 years 1948-2011?
A retired IAS officer from Chennai sought under RTI the post mortem report of Mahatma Gandhi in the year 2006. He was given a royal run for three years from pillar to post. Tuglakhabad police station said they do not have it. Home ministry said they did not have it. PMO office said they do not have it. Foreign office said they do not have it. Medical hospitals and doctors said they don't have it. Finally when PM himself was threatened with the Chief Information Commissioner after three years during 2009 April FINALLY the post mortem report was sent to the said IAS officer.
And this post mortem report stated THREE (3) bullets hit Gandhi. Two bullets hit his thigh and abdomen and exited his body. One got stuck in his chest bone. This one that got stuck was fatal and killed him. Also it contained details of entry and exit wounds of bullets in 'oblongated angles' down ward.
All along we maintained that the 'fundamentalist' fired only three bullets but only two hit Gandhi.
What the nation will do with this, time has to decide.

Refusal to give the post mortem report of another prime minister Late Lal Bahadur Sashtri
Inspired with the Gandhi's post mortem report finally making the light RTI activists sought late assassinated Prime Minister Lal Bahdur Sasthri's post mortem report, but here government refused to provide the same not under security concerns, rather it said "trade relations with an important country which is a prominent can result in it's trade partner being affected," and India cannot lose its pace of development because of the embarrassment caused by this pos

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