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Right to Information Act 2005 – Clarifications & Instructions
Acceptance of RTI application/appeal
- Accept the RTI applications without asking the reasons for making the application, as asking for the reasons for making the application is in violation of Sec 6(2). Do not insist on countersignature by some particular officer. Make necessary suitable arrangement to receive the application for information/appeal in the absence of nominated officer/official.
- Accept the RTI application fee in the mode prescribed by Nodal Department i.e. Department of Personnel & Training. Mode of RTI application fee are i) Cash; ii) Demand Draft; iii) Bankers cheque; and iv) Indian Postal Order. There is no fee prescribed for appeals.
- The RTI Act does not provide any standard form of application for information. The Nodal Ministry of the Government of India has also not prescribed any format for application. Hence the Department cannot insist on a particular format of application and no application can be rejected on this ground.
- The RTI application shall be received by any Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), in those offices where there are several CPIOs having different jurisdictions. It would be the duty of the CPIO who receives the application to direct it to the concerned CPIO.
Maintenance of record
- Maintain record of application/appeal under RTI in the formats prescribed by CIC.
- Furnish Quarterly Report and Annual Report to the Directorate in prescribed formats by 10th of falling month
- Opinion, Analysis, Comparability, Examination of issue, redressal of grievances are outside the purview of RTI Act;
- Request applicant for specific information if the information south for is vague or not specific; (Decision No.249/IC(A)/2006. F.No.CIC/MA/C/2006/00190 dated 7th Spe 2006 case of Shri. B P Singh Vs CBEC)
- File Notings are not, as a matter of law, exempted from disclosure.
- Every decision has to be conveyed within stipulated period under the signature of designated CPIO/Appellate Authority as the case may be; (Appeal No.149/ICPB/2006 F.No.PBA/06/234 dated 2nd Nov 2006 case of Shri. P S Pattabiraman Vs Department of Posts, Tamil Nadu Circle. Comments on the appeal should also be sent under the signature of either CPIO or Appellate Authority as per requirements (Copy of decision enclosed)
- Any rejection of request for information has to be in terms of the provisions of the RTI Act and the specific provisions applied in a particular should be mentioned while responding to the applicant. (Appeal No.ICPB/A-4/CIC/2006 dated 10th Feb 2006 Case of Shri. Rajesh Pandita Vs Dept of Posts)
- Intimate the detailed particulars of appellate Authority & time limit for appeal while rejecting/supplying requested information to the applicant. It has further been ruled that the 1st appeal in all cases would lie with the Departmental Appellate Authority alone, and only at the stage of 2nd appeal would the appeal lie with the Central Information Commission (CIC)
- Intimate retention period in case information sought has been weeded out under Record Retention Schedule/Preservation of Records Rules. It would also be advisable to enclose copy of relevant rules or the extract of rules under which weeding of records has been done.
- Never advise the appellant to prefer the 1st Appeal itself to Central Information Commission on the ground that the decision to deny the information had been taken at the highest level. (Appeal No.ICPB/A-4/CIC/2006 dated 10th Feb 2006 case of Shri. Rajesh Pandita Vs Dept of Posts.
- Display the particulars of CPIO and Appellate Authority of concerned office at entrance of office for public.
- Copies of evaluated Answer Papers are not to be made available to the candidate or others. As and when answer papers are evaluated, the authority conducting the examination and the examiners evaluating the answer paper stand in fiduciary relationship to each other. Hence in fiduciary relationship the disclosure of such information is exempted under section 8(i)(e). Further it is purely a personal information, the disclosure of which has no relation to any public interest or activity and this has been covered under section 8(1)(i) of the Act (Appeal No.ICPB/A-2/CIC/2006 dated 6th Feb 2006 Case of Ms. Treesa Irish Vs Keral Postal Circle)
- For disclosure of DPC minutes and copies of ACRs refer decision of CIC in the cases of i) Dr. Anand Akhila Vs CSIR (Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2006/00040 dated 24th April 2006 and 12th May 2006); ii) Shri. Gopal Kumar Vs HHQ (F.No.CIC/AT/A/2006/00069 dated 13th July 2006); iii) Mrs Ranju Prasad Vs Department of Posts (F.No.PBA/06/195 dated 9th October 2006)
- While going through the above cited decisions of CIC, it is recommended that the decisions be gone through in totality, so that the context be understood fully.
While following the above noted clarification/guidelines, it is also requested to regularly monitor the websites of Central Information Commission (CIC) and Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), which is nodal department in respect of RTI matters in addition to the Department of Posts's website for their decisions & instructions on RTI matters for effective implementation of the Act.
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