Right to Information Act, 2005
with material from the NCPRI
Table of Contents
After waiting for almost two months Prem Sharma was able to get his passport within ten days...
Denied access to a controversial report against corrupt officials, a common citizen got certified copies of the entire report directly from the Police...
Fed up with pestering his gas agency Vijay Khumbhar was told that next time he need not register for a cylinder refill -- all he needed to do was call the owner...
What do these three average citizens of our country have in common?
The Right to Information Act, 2005.
All three filed applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to get results.
The Right to Information Act 2005 was passed by the Parliament of India in May 2005 and came into affect on October 13th, 2005. The Act provides for a legal and institutional framework towards the realisation of our Constitutional Right guaranteed under Article 19(1) a.
The Right to Information Act is a powerful tool to promote transparency and accountability in every public authority. The RTI Act, by enabling common citizens to access information - earlier withheld by government functionaries - prepares the ground for constructive engagement and intervention.
You can use the Right to Information Act to ask anything from any government department, because the government is run by the taxes we pay. Under the Act citizens can:
· ask for information from any government department,
· inspect government documents,
· take photocopies of documents,
· inspect government works, and
· take samples of certified materials.
The Act allows citizens to play a more active role in governance by making the government departments, policy formulation and public policies and public planning more transparent.
Use the Right to Information to access information about:
· the condition of streets/roads in your colony,
· the garbage collection and disposal by the municipal agency,
· the supply of electricity and water
· the manner in which your school/college fees are being spent
· the attendance and muster rolls, for everyone from construction labourers to hospital doctors and nurses
· the daily progress made on your grievance application
· the details of expenditure on development works in your area by your MLA/MP
· the basis for undertaking specific/ all government schemes
· the grounds for policy formulation
· most anything the government does or supports that matters to you!
Now, after 58 years of Independence, you too can make a difference; Use the Right to Information (your Right to Live):
It can change your life!
1. Decide who you want to ask for your information. Which department of the government (or PSU, or NGO, etc.) does your issue involve?
2. Find the contact details of the Public Information Officer for the department in question. We’ve included a list of some commonly-used PIOs.
3. Decide on the questions you want to ask. These can be as simple or as complex as you like. Do you want copies of documents or samples of materials? Do you want to inspect documents or materials? Or do you just want answers to specific questions? The more you already know about the department and how it functions, the more effective your questions will be.
4. Write out your questions on a sheet of plain paper. We’ve included some sample applications for your convenience.
5. Submit your application with your application fees, if required, to the PIO. Again, see the rules for details. Don’t forget to get a stamped receipt of your RTI application, as well as a receipt for your payment!
6. Wait the appropriate amount of time for a response from your PIO. See the Salient Features for the time you should wait.
7. If you don’t get your information within the appropriate amount of time, or if you’re dissatisfied with the information supplied, file your First Appeal.
8. If you’re still unsatisfied after filing your First Appeal, then you can file your Second Appeal, with the State or Central Information Commission.
We’ve included a list of Salient Features, Rules for the RTI Act and for Appeals, Sample Applications, and some commonly-used PIOs. So, you should be all set.
· The Act enables citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority in India.
· You can seek information from any department of the central or state government, from panchayati raj institutions, and from any other organization or institution (including NGOs) that is established, constituted, owned, controlled or substantially financed, directly or indirectly, by the state or central government (section 2(a) & (h)).
· In each department, at least one officer has been designated as a public information officer (PIOs). He/She accepts the request forms and provides information sought by the people (section 5(1)).
· In addition, in each sub-district/divisional level there are assistant public information officers (APIOs) who receive requests for information and appeals against decisions of the public information officers, and then send them to the appropriate authorities (section 5(2)).
· Any person seeking information should file an application in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi (or in the official language of the area) along with the application fees with the PIO/APIO (section 6(1)).
· Where a request cannot be made in writing, the PIO is supposed to render all reasonable assistance to the person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing (section 6(1)).
· Where the applicant is deaf, blind, or otherwise impaired, the public authority is supposed to provide assistance to enable access to the information, including providing such assistance as may be appropriate for the inspection (section 7(4)).
· Besides the applicant’s contact details, the applicant is not required to either give any reasons for requesting the information or any other personal details (section 6(2)).
· A reasonable application fee, as prescribed, will be charged for each application and for supply of information. However, no fee is chargeable from persons below the poverty line (section 7(5)), or if the information is provided after the prescribed period (section 7(6)).
· Information sought from the PIO ordinarily has to be provided or refused within 30 days. Information regarding the life or liberty of an individual has to be provided within 48 hours (section 7(1)). That sought from an APIO should be provided in 35 days (section 5(2)).
· The Centre and State Information Commissions can receive and inquire into a complaint by an applicant if an application for information is rejected, the information provided is incomplete or incorrect or excess amount is charged (section 18(1)).
· In case a person fails to get a response from the PIO within the prescribed period or is aggrieved by the response received, he/she should file an appeal within 30 days with an officer superior in rank to the PIO (section 19(1)).
· In case the appeal is allowed, the information shall be supplied. If it is not, then the applicant has the right to appeal within 30 days to the Central or State Information Commission, for information regarding the central or state government institutions respectively (section 19(3)). An appeal should be disposed of within 30 days of the receipt of appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of 45 days from the date of filing (section 19(6)).
· If a PIO fails to furnish the information asked for under the Act or fails to communicate the rejection order, within the time specified, the PIO will be liable to pay a penalty of Rs 250 per day for each day of delay, subject to a maximum of Rs 25,000 (section 20(1)).
· The Information Commission can also require the public authority which has illegitimately delayed/denied information to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered (section 19(8) (b)).
· In case a PIO:
i. without any reasonable cause and persistently, fails to receive an application for information or does not furnish information within the time specified,
ii. or malafidely denies a request for information,
iii. or knowingly gives incorrect, incomplete or misleading information,
iv. or destroys information which is the subject of a request,
v. or obstructs, in any manner, the furnishing of information,
the information commission shall recommend disciplinary action against the concerned PIO, under the service rules applicable to him/her (section 20(2)).
As per the order of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, (Department of Personnel and Training); Order No. [F.No. 34012/8(s)/2005-Estt. (B)]; New Delhi dated 16th September, 2005
[There are no official rules for filing a first appeal. We suggest the following format for your convenience.]
A first appeal to the Officer Senior in rank to the PIO should contain the following information:
(ii) Name and address of the Public Information Officer involved;
Documents to accompany first appeal - Every appeal should include the following documents:
(i) Copies of the application or documents involved;
(ii) Copies of the reply, if received, from the PIO
A second appeal to the Commission (Central/State) shall contain the following information:
Procedure in deciding appeal- In deciding the appeal the Commission may,
Service of notice by Commission- Notice to be issued by the Commission may be served in any of the following modes-
Personal presence of the appellant or complainant -
Order of the Commission - Order of the Commission will be pronounced in open proceedings and will be in writing duly authenticated by the Registrar or any other officer authorised by the Commission for this purpose.
As per the order of the Joint Secretary to the Government of India; Order No. [F.No. 1/4/2005-IR]; New Delhidated 28th October, 2005.
The Public Information Officer
(Name of the Department)
Subject: Application under the Right to Information Act, 2005
The Right to Information Act empowers any citizen to inspect any government work or to demand sample of material (section 2(j)(i) & 2(j)(iii)).
You can inspect an old work (which has already been completed) or a current ongoing work. If you inspect an old work, you can expose corruption that might have taken place. But if you inspect an ongoing work, you will be able to prevent corruption from taking place.
If you also want to inspect old or ongoing works, you can ask for the following information:
1. According to section 2(j)(i) of the Right to Information Act every citizen has the right to inspect any work. I wish to inspect the following work(s). Please let me know the date(s), time(s) and venue(s) when I should come to inspect these work(s).
(Give list of works that you wish to inspect)
2. I would also like to inspect the following documents related to these works at the time of inspection. These records should be made available to me for inspection when I come for inspection of these work(s):
3. According to section 2(j)(iii) of the Right to Information Act, every citizen also has the right to take samples of material. I would like to take a sample of material for each of the above works. Each sample should be collected by the Department in my presence and should be sealed and certified to be a true sample of material of that work.
If some ration or oil shopkeeper is not giving rations properly, you should conduct an audit of him by seeking his records. You should file an application under the Right to Information Act and ask for the following information from the Food Department.
Please give copies of the following registers for the months of (please specify the months here, for which you want the records) for shop No _______:
After you receive these records, conduct a physical verification by speaking to card holders and matching the entries in their ration cards. On the basis of this verification, the “quantum of defalcation” (the number and amount of discrepancies found) should be calculated and a complaint should be made with the concerned Assistant Commissioner, Additional Commissioner and the Commissioner, to have the appropriate action taken against the shopkeeper.
Often, providers of public services, like gas cylinder deliveries, are chronically late. Whether the cause of delay is from lack of supply or because the deliverer is waiting for a bribe, you can find out the details. Asking for this information can often speed up the service remarkably. Here are sample questions to send to the gas cylinder company’s PIO.
2. The number of domestic and commercial customers having one, two and more than two gas cylinders
3. Between (mention the period of information) how many gas cylinders did the (name of ) gas agency procure from name of supplier (details of demand and supply to be given date wise)
4. Details of the demand and supply of cylinders to the customers of (name of) gas agency (mention the period of information) to be given in following chart
Consumer’s name and consumer no
No. of cylinders
Domestic or commercial
Date of booking the
Date of delivery
In many cases, after filing such an application, the service is restored, properly.
1. Please give a list of all the works related to improvement of roads or streets carried out in my area (please specify your area) since 1st April 2000. The list should contain the name of the work, Work Order No, actual date of start, actual date of completion, amount paid or payable, status of work, name of contractor and mode of improvement of that road or street.
2. In each of the above works, please give a list of the streets or roads (mentioning from which house no to which house no was it repaired), which were repaired under that work, the length of repair and average width of repair in each street or road.
3. For each of these works, please mention what was the guarantee clause, if any and whether it has been invoked so far.
4. After you have prepared the above information, I would like to inspect your measurement books and work order registers related to these works to ensure that you have given complete information.
1. Please intimate the MCD ward in which the following address falls:
2. Please provide a list of all the works awarded by Engineering Division (both maintenance and project divisions) of MCD in this whole ward for the period _____________ to _______________. The list should contain the following details:
a. Name of the work
b. Work Order No
c. Name of contractor
d. Date of start
e. Date of completion
f. Rate at which work awarded
g. Sanctioned amount
h. Amount paid so far
i. Head of account
j. Status of work
k. Basis for decision to undertake this work
l. Sketch of each of these works
m. Copy of the Layout sketch of this ward
2. I would also like to inspect the work order registers for this division for the above period to ascertain that the list provided to me is correct. Please intimate the date, time and venue when I could come and inspect the same.
During the period 1.4.2002 to 31.3.05, please give the following information with respect to all the works carried out to restore the roads cut by various agencies in the area ________:
The following is a list of roads:
Please provide me following information with respect to the above roads:
1. During the period 1.4.2000 to 31.1.05, how many times have repairs (both minor and major) been carried out on each of the above roads?
2. If the work was done departmentally, please provide the following information with respect to each such work:
a. Copy of relevant portion of stock register
b. Copy of relevant portion of labour register
c. Exact location of spots where the work was carried out
d. When was the work carried out
e. What was the method of repair?
f. What was the composition of material used?
3. If the work was done through a contractor, please provide the following information with respect to each such work:
a. Copy of measurement book (both abstract entries & record entries)
b. Copy of sketch
c. Copy of details of estimates
d. If there was any guarantee clause in the contract, copy of that portion of the contract which mentions this guarantee clause and the conditions in which this clause can be invoked.
e. Names of the Assistant Engineer and the Executive Engineer who inspected each of these works and passed payments. Which portions of these works were inspected by them?
f. Has the guarantee clause been invoked till now? If no, why despite the fact that the roads are in such bad condition.
4. The roads are totally broken these days. Please give reasons for the bad condition of each of these roads (please mention specific reasons for each road separately).
5. If any of the roads is broken due to water staying on the road, please intimate whether it is due to wrong camber or due to clogged drains?
6. If it is due to wrong camber how was the payment passed? What action will be taken against the engineer who inspected the road and let it pass like this?
7. If it is due to clogged drain, please provide following information from the CSE or any other department which dealt with it:
a. When were these drains cleaned during the above period?
b. Give copy of the measurement book of the cleaning carried out?
c. Please provide the names of the officials who inspected and passed the payments.
d. This means that these officials did not do their job properly. Their inaction has caused so much loss to the exchequer and so much inconvenience to the public. They are also guilty of criminal misconduct under section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of corruption Act. By when will action be taken against them?
8. The fact that these roads have broken shows that very bad material has been used in the roads. What enquiries will be made to ascertain the quality of the roads, fix responsibilities and in how much time will the enquiries be completed?
9. The payments seem to have been done fraudulently and the inspection carried out by the engineers was faulty. What enquiries will be instituted against the engineers who passed the payments and did faulty inspection?
10. I want to take sample of material of each of these roads under section 2(j)(iii) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The sample should be collected from the place of my choice. It should be collected in my presence and should be sealed and certified. Please intimate me the date, time and venue where I should come to collect the samples.
When will these roads be repaired now?
The following properties have encroached on the public land:
Please provide following information:
1. Please provide the following details of funds (both plan & non-plan) allocated to horticulture Department in this Zone during the period __________ to _________:
a. Amount allocated under each head during budget estimates and revised estimates for each year.
b. Amount actually spent under each head for each year
2. Please intimate the Municipal Ward in which the following address falls:
3. Please provide the list of works carried out or items purchased by the horticulture department in the above ward during the period _________ to __________. The list should contain the following details:
i. Name of work
ii. Work order no
iii. Rate at which work awarded
iv. Amount sanctioned
v. Amount paid so far
vi. Head of account
vii. Status of work
viii. Name of agency
ix. Date of start
x. Date of completion
xi. Basis of decision to do that work
xii. Sketch of each work
xiii. Copy of layout sketch of this ward.
b. I would also like to inspect the work order registers for this ward for the above period to ascertain that the list provided to me is correct. Please intimate the date, time and venue when I could come and inspect the same.
4. Please give the addresses of all the parks maintained by horticulture department in the area __________.
5. Please give the sanctioned strength and working strength of employees at each level from bottom to the level of DC (Zone) employed in horticulture.
6. We wish to draw your attention to the following parks:
7. Please give the names, contact nos and office addresses of employees (at all levels), who have jurisdiction over these parks?
8. Please provide the duty chart and duty timings for employees in these parks.
9. What activities of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual maintenance are supposed to be carried out on these parks as per rules including watering , weeding out etc. Which employees are supposed to carry out these activities?
10. Have these activities been carried out during the period ________ to ________?
11. Who is the supervisory officer? Is he supposed to inspect the maintenance work daily? Did he inspect the work daily during the above period? Did he find the work satisfactory?
12. Please give the list of all works carried out on these parks during the period ________ to _________.
13. Under sec 2(j)(i) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, we would like to inspect all works at question 12 above. Please indicate the date, time and venue when we should come and inspect the works. At the time of inspection, we would also like to inspect the records related to these works.
A large number of properties in Defence Colony are using their premises for commercial purposes in violation of all the rules and laws, thus causing inconvenience to the residents. Please provide following information on this issue:
I live at the following address:
Please provide the following information with respect to the sanitary conditions of the beat in which my house falls:
1. Please provide the list of all the sweepers and sanitation officials with their addresses and contact nos working in this beat.
2. Please provide copy of attendance register for this beat for the month of _________
3. Please provide copy of muster roll for this beat for the month of _________________
4. Please mention against each sweeper, his geographical and functional job responsibilities, for instance, which streets is a particular sweeper supposed to be working everyday and what is he supposed to be doing in those streets.
5. Please provide the names, addresses of offices and their contact nos of the supervisory officials of the above sweepers in this beat right upto the Sanitary Superintendent.
4. Section 2(j)(i) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 gives a right to every citizen to inspect any work. I wish to inspect the following work. Please let me know the date, time and venue when I should come to inspect this work.
5. I would like to inspect the following documents related to this work at the time of inspection. These records should be made available to me for inspection when I come for inspection of the above work:
a. Measurement Book
b. Details of Estimates
If I desire to take copies of any of the above documents or parts thereof, I would intimate the same after inspection. I request that the copies should be provided to me after charging prescribed fee.
6. Section 2(j)(iii) also gives a right to the citizens to take sample of material. I would like to take sample of material of the above work. The sample should be collected by the Department in my presence from the place of my choice and should be sealed and certified to be a true sample of material of that work.
1. Please provide copies of log books of the all the official vehicles, which are either at the disposal of __________________________________________ or were used by him/her during the FY _____.
2. Please provide a copy of the rules that apply to the usage of official vehicles by politicians/bureaucrats at his/her level. Please also provide copies of rules governing recovery of excess usage done by them.
1. Please intimate the constituency in which the following address falls:
2. Please provide the following details for all the works awarded during the period __________to ___________for this whole constituency out of the MLA Constituency Development Fund:
a. Name of work
b. Brief Description of work
c. Amount sanctioned
d. Date of sanction
e. Status of completion
f. Name of agency
g. Date of start
h. Date of completion
i. Rate at which work awarded
j. Amount paid
k. Copy of sketch
l. How was the decision taken to carry out this work?
2. How much money was allotted to him during the current year and how much has been carried over from previous years?
3. Out of the above, projects worth how much money have already been sanctioned?
4. How many projects worth how much money are awaiting sanction?
There is a garbage bin at the following address:
Please provide the following information with respect to this garbage bin:
1. Please give the address of the Depot from where the loader and truck for this garbage bin are sent?
2. Please give the vehicle nos of the truck and the loader assigned for picking up garbage from this garbage bin.
3. As per the vehicle beat register maintained at the Depot, please give the time when these vehicles left the Depot and at what time did they return to the Depot on each day from ___________ to ____________
4. On each of the days during the above period, please mention the addresses of the garbage bins, which were serviced by these vehicles.
5. Please give the numbers of trips made by this truck on each of these days.
6. On each of these trips, please mention the weight of the garbage picked up by this truck, as per the weighment receipts at landfill sites.
7. This garbage bin has not been cleaned for the last _____ days. The area SI is supposed to send balance report to the workshop SI everyday giving details of the garbage left unattended. On the basis of this report, the workshop SI is supposed to get such garbage picked up. Please give copies of balance reports sent by the area SI for each day during this period.
8. Does the balance report for each of these days mention that the garbage at this bin is not being picked up? If no, why has the area SI not been mentioning the same?
I had made an application for the following reason (copy of application is attached) but no satisfactory action has been taken on my application so far.
Please provide the following information with respect to the same:
By when will my problem be resolved now?
1. Please give a list of all the grievances received from the public during Fys ______.
2. Please give copies of all these grievances.
3. What action has been taken on each one of these so far?
4. As per rules and law, in how much time should each one of them be resolved?
5. What penalty is prescribed against the officials if they do not adhere to these time limits?
6. What are the reasons for delay in each of the grievances?
7. What action would be taken against the officials in each case of delay?
Please provide following information under the Right to Information Act 2005:
1. Please provide a list of all the files or any other documents etc related to the project titled as _________________ since the time it was first considered by the Government to approach World Bank or other funding agencies for finance till date. The files should include all aspects of this project including, but not limited to, all correspondence, Minutes of all meetings, award of contracts, payments made, terms of reference for various consultants, all agreements including draft agreements, various reports made by the consultants including draft reports, all file notings, etc.
2. I also wish to inspect all the above files. Since I do not have any idea, whatsoever, of the files available on this subject, I will not be able to mention specifically the names of the files desired by me at this stage. After inspection, I would indicate the documents, which I am interested in and would request copies thereof.
2. Please give a list of all the consultants hired for this project for any purpose at any time, purpose for which it was hired, when was it hired and lists of reports submitted by them so far.
3. What is the present status of this project now? Which Central Government and State Government ministries have accorded what all approvals (including initial in principle approvals, if any) so far?
4. Please give a detailed note on why the project was conceived, how was it conceived and an account of all the developments so far.
I am separately depositing Rs 10 as application fee. I would be grateful if you could intimate the date and time when I could come for inspection.
Please provide the following information:
I am separately depositing Rs 10 as application fee.
The following street lights are not functioning for a long period.
Several complaints have been made so far, the details of which are given below:
However, no action has been taken so far. Please provide following information:
1. Who has MCD contracted maintenance of street-lights of this area? Please provide a copy of contract.
2. Within how much time of a complaint made by the citizens should the contractor replace/ repair defective lights? Please provide relevant extracts of the contract or letter etc which makes a mention of this.
3. If the street light is not repaired or replaced within this time period, what action can be taken against the contractor? Please provide relevant extracts of the contract or letter etc which makes a mention of this.
4. Under what circumstances can the payment of the contractor be deducted? Please provide relevant extracts of the contract or letter etc which makes a mention of this.
5. Can the payment of the contractor be deducted in the circumstances arising out of my complaints? If no, why?
6. If yes, within how much time will the MCD deduct the contractor’s payment?
7. Under what conditions can the contract be cancelled? Please provide relevant extracts of the contract or letter etc which makes a mention of this.
8. Can the contract be cancelled in the circumstances arising out of my complaints?
9. If yes, within how much time will the MCD cancel the contract?
10. What powers does the MCD have to force the contractor to do his job properly?
11. Please provide me copies of all letters or directions issued by MCD to the contractor immediately after they have now received this application under Right to Information.
1. What is the total population of Vasant Kunj as per DJB records?
2. What is the theoretical requirement of drinking water on daily basis as per DJB?
3. What are the different sources through which water is being provided presently to Vasant Kunj? How much water is being provided through each source daily?
4. According to DJB estimates, what is the quantum of water scarcity?
5. Since the year 1995, how has the water scarcity been increasing? Please give yearwise figures of water scarcity that existed as per DJB records since 1995.
6. What are the reasons for water scarcity?
7. What steps have been taken by DJB to address this problem since 1995?
8. What are the short term and long term solutions to solve this problem according to DJB? What steps have been taken so far and what are the hurdles in implementing these solutions?
9. Under sec 2(j)(i) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, we would like to inspect the quantum of water being supplied by DJB from different sources – both at the source from where the water starts and the place at which it reaches Vasant Kunj. Please intimate the date, time and venue when this inspection would be arranged by DJB.
10. Please provide a list of all the complaints received by DJB from any source – in writing or in central control room or on phone, with respect to water problem in Vasant Kunj. The list should be provided for the period 1.4.2003 to 31.8.04. The list should contain the following details:
a. Name and address of complainant
b. Date of complaint
c. Brief description of complaint
d. Action taken
e. Date of action.
11. The water in our area is very dirty. I want that a sample of water should be collected in my presence and tested. Please intimate the date and time when the sample would be collected from my house at ________.
To find your APIO, PIO, or Appellate Authority for a Central Government Agency, simply go to http://rti.gov.in/
To find your APIO, PIO, or Appellate Authority for a State Government Agency, simply navigate to your state government’s website via the above page. The site for Delhi is:
Kabir is a non-governmental organisation working to promote the Right to Information in India. Kabir is creating media and reaching out to motivate the common man to demand transparency and accountability from governments.
Kabir produces short documentary films and other AV material for dissemination, as well as resource material like handbooks, posters, pamphlets, stickers, etc. We disseminate information by networking with NGOs, students, Resident Welfare Associations, and citizens’ groups across India.
The success of the Right to Information and Kabir’s mission depends on all of us sharing our knowledge of how the RTI is being used. We especially need your success stories, so please, contact us!
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