MUMBAI, JULY 1 : If the country is reaping fruits of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it is thanks to the postal department which ensures speedy delivery of queries and replies made under the landmark legislation, free of charge.
“For making application under the RTI Act simple for citizens, the Prime Minister decided that Department of Posts should provide its service to whole of Central government as a collection point for information under RTI,” senior RTI activist and treasurer of Bombay Chartered Society Narayan Varma said.
The postal department has designated Central Assistant Public Information Officers (CAPIOs), who are responsible for delivering RTI applications free of charge to the Central Public Information officers (CPIOs) concerned.
“However, it is not that all post offices in India provide this facility. Postal department has designated only few of them. In Maharashtra and Goa 433 post offices act as RTI offices,” said Varma, who obtained this information through RTI application from Mumbai General Post Office.
As per details obtained from the department, the post offices are required to ensure that a matter under RTI is distinctly recognised. This will facilitate speedy and secured delivery of information, the reply said.
“A clear stamp “Right to Information—Priority’ has to be printed on each request received and also on the receipts issued in acknowledgement of these requests,” CPIO and Assistant post master general, Maharashtra Circle, M B Gajbhiye informed in his reply to Varma. Importantly, the onus is on postal department if the applicant doesn’t know the exact name and address of the public authority who has the information he or she wants.
“It is the duty of CAPIO to send the application to the CPIO concerned. The CPIO directory published may be consulted for this purpose,” Gajbhiye said.
The designated post offices are supposed to record the particulars of the request received, including date of receipt, identification number, applicant's name with contact details, subject matter of the request, name of the ministry, department or public authority to whom it is related.