The Applicants’ seeking information under Section 6(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, could make their request in writing in a language of English, Hindi or in the regional official language of the area, and could submit their “Applications’ to the Public Information Officer (PIO) appointed at an office, where you think or assume or believe that the information required would be available. Even, the Applicants’ have the option of submitting their application either online or offline.
A nominal fee of Rs.10/- (Rupees Ten Only) has to be paid for every such application as per Rule 3 of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005.
However, no such payment of fee shall be made if the applicants are Below Poverty Line (BPL).
The PIOs at the State Government Offices shall be addressed as State Public Information Officer (SPIO) and the PIOs at the Central Government Offices shall be addressed as Central Public Information Officer (CPIO).
RECEIVING APPLICATION BY “PIO” SUNDER SECTION 6(1) OF RTIA:
The PIOs must receive the applications made in any mode under Section 6(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, and should never prevent the receipt thereof.
Further, any illiterate or handicapped or those who could not make their request/application in writing if approaches the PIOs, the PIOs are bound to extend the assistance to the person (intending to make a request orally) to reduce the same in writing (vide the provisions of Section 6(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
In fact, the PIOs need to note here that any “intentional refusal to receive the application”, on their part, lead to imposition of Penalty under Section 20 of the Act.
WHETHER MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS CAN BE SUBMITTED?
There is no such bar or barrier in RTI Law. Any citizen can make any number of applications, but the fee prescribed for the purpose has to be paid with each of such application. Getting “Information” by a Citizen is a statutory right.
WHAT IS THE WAY OUT TO REDRESS THE GRIEVANCE IF THE “PIO” REFUSES TO RECEIVE THE APPLICATION?
Irrespective of the mode of submission of application, the PIO ought to receive the application & even if the “Applicant” under the Act has either intentionally or wrongly addressed his/her application to a PIO, the PIO has to receive the same and in no case the PIO should prevent the receipt or refuse to receive the same.
If the PIO intentionally attempts to prevent the receipt or refuses to take postal delivery of the Application addressed to him, it may be construed that the PIO has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application under the Act, and shall be liable for Penalty under Sections 19(8) and 20 of the Act.
If the PIO refuses to take postal delivery, there exists sufficient proof to tackle the issue to redress the grievance properly in two ways – (1) Directly complaining to the State Information Commission (SIC) or the Central Information Commission (CIC) as may be applicable, and (2) Appealing to the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
DISPOSAL OF APPLICATION:
On receipt of application under Section 6(1) of Right to Information Act, 2005 the PIO [i.e., State Public Information Officer (SPIO) or the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), as the case may be] shall, at the earliest possible go through the application thoroughly and –
(1) if found that the requested “information” is (a) held by another PIO/Public Authority; or (b) the subject matter is connected with or related to another PIO/Public Authority, the recipient PIO shall transfer the application or part/portion thereof, as per Section 6(3) of the Act, to such other PIO/Public Authority within “Five Days”, duly informing the “Applicant” about such transfer.
(2) if found that the requested “information” is –
(a) “Exempt from Disclosure” under Section 8 of Right to Information Act, 2005, or
(b) “Involve any Infringement of Copyright” as per Section 9 of Right to Information Act, 2005,or
(c) any part of “information” (out of the “information” requested) which does not fall under the category of “information exempt from disclosure” may be supplied to the applicant, by intimating the fact that after severance of the record from the information exempt from disclosure, is being provided under Section 10 of Right to Information Act, 2005.
(3) if found that the requested “information” is relating to a “Third Party” and the PIO intends to supply the information or record or any part thereof, shall issue a notice to that “Third Party” giving the opportunity to make his/her representation as per Section 11 of Right to Information Act, 2005 and then take a decision as to whether the “information” sought by the applicant is to be supplied or not.
(the PIO) normally pass the order accordingly within “Thirty Days” of receipt of such application as per Section 7 of Right to Information Act, 2005 duly supplying the “information” or rejecting the application.
A. When the required “information” concerns with “Life or Liberty” of a Person, the time limit for disposing application/supplying information is within “Forty-Eight (48) Hours” from receipt of such request/application as per Section 7(1) of the Act.
B. When the application was submitted to APIO, which should be transferred to PIO, there shall be an allowable period of “Five Days” for such transfer as per Section 5 of the Act, and therefore, for disposal of such transferred application the time limit shall be “Thirty Five Days”.
C. When the application was transferred from one PIO to another PIO, there shall be an allowable period of “Five Days” for such transfer as per Section 6(3) of the Act, and therefore, for disposal of such transferred application the time limit shall be “Thirty Five Days”.
D. When the application requesting the “information” relates to a “Third Party” the time limit for disposing such application, as per Section 11(3) of the Act, is within “Forty Days”.
E. When the PIO fails to comply within the time limits specified, the “information” shall be provided “Free of Charge/Cost” to the Applicant as per Section 7(6) of the Act
ACTIONS LIABLE TO IMPOSITION OF PENALTY:
The PIOs need to note here that:
(1) for “non-furnishing information within time specified” or
(2) for “malafidely denying the request for information” or
(3) for “knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information” or
(4) for “obstructing in any manner in furnishing the information” or
(5) for “destroying the information which is subject of the request”,
leads to imposition of Penalty under Section 20 of the Act.
WHAT COULD BE THE PENALTY?
There shall be an imposition of penalty at the rate of Rs.250 per each day till the application is received by the PIO or the applicant receives the information. However, such penalty is restricted to a maximum amount totaling to Rs.25,000. In addition to it, there has the scope for recommending for suitable disciplinary action against the PIO under the Service Rules applicable to him/her.
WHO COULD IMPOSE PENALTY?
As per provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 only the Second Appellate Authority (SAA), i.e., the State Information Commission (SIC) or the Central Information Commission (CIC) as applicable, is only the Authority Empowered with the Power of Imposing Penalty on PIOs under Sections 19(8) and 20 of the Act.