Exercising your RTI

RTI Act summarized
RTI Act summarized (Tamil)
  • How often have you found government officials to be unresponsive?
  • Have you felt powerless against your own government? 
  • Have you ever wanted to do something about this? 

We present to you an effective method to tackle these problems. The Right to Information Act (RTI Act) empowers each one of us. It bestows upon you the right to demand answers any public authority. And the public authority is bound to respond within a specific time-period.


Public authority under the purview of this act: Any authority, body or institution of self government established or constituted by the Constitution, by a law made by the Parliament, or State legislature, by a notification or order passed by the Parliament or State Legislature. Organizations (including NGOs) controlled or financed substantially by government funds.


One or more officers in every public authority have been designated as Public Information Officers (PIO). These are the nodal officers, who are supposed to accept any application under RTI, collect information from that Department and provide it to the applicant. If the desired information is not provided within 30 days of application or if the information provided is incomplete, the concerned officer becomes liable for a penalty of Rs 250 per day of default up to a maximum of Rs 25,000 per application. And if wrong information is provided, a penalty up to a maximum of Rs 25,000 can be imposed on the officer.


An RTI application is to be submitted along with application fee as listed in the adjacent box. Fees may be paid by cash, DD or banker’s cheque. Fees will not be charged for Below Poverty Line (BPL) applicants.


Application Workflow

§         Filing an application

    The applicant should submit an application to the PIO of the concerned public authority. The required basic application fee should also be submitted. The PIO is bound to respond with the requested information within 30 days. You are not required to state the purpose of your application or what you intend to do with the information.


§         Notification of Additional Fee

     The PIO may request the applicant to deposit an additional fee. The PIO should provide detailed calculations on how this additional fee was calculated. (Refer table above for charges per page/floppy). The applicant is expected to deposit this amount by cash, DD or banker’s cheque. The period taken to deposit the amount (from the date of notification of extra fee) will not be counted for the 30-day time-period.


§         Receipt of information

    If the PIO provides the information within the specified time-frame, the application may be considered closed.


§         Rejection of application

    The PIO should provide the reasons for rejection of application. The applicant may file an appeal against this decision within 30 days of the rejection.


§         Appeal

   The applicant may file an appeal to the Appellate authority (as identified by the public authority) if the

·         Application is rejected by the PIO or the PIO’s response is unsatisfactory

·         PIO has not responded within the 30-day period


§         Second Appeal

    An appeal against the appellate authority’s decision can be filed with the State/Central Information Commission.  The Union and State Governments have constituted CIC and SIC respectively.



Sample RTI Application




The PIO,





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:


1.       Please indicate the daily progress made on my application so far. i.e. when did my application reach which officer, for how long did it stay with that officer and what did he/she do during that period?

2.       Please give the names and designations of the officials who were supposed to take action on my application and who have not done so?

3.       What action would be taken against these officials for not doing their work and for causing harassment to the public? By when would that action be taken?

4.       By when would my work be done now?

5.       Please give me a list of all the applications/returns/petitions/grievances received, after my application/return/petition/grievance was received. The list should contain the following information:

    1. Name of applicant/taxpayer/petitioner/aggrieved person
    2. Receipt no
    3. Date of application/return/petition/grievance
    4. Date of disposal

6.       Please give copy or print out of those portions of records, which contains details of receipt of the above applications/returns/petitions/grievances

7.       Please give reasons for out of turn disposal of the applications/ returns/ petitions/ grievances, if any, which were received after me.

8.       By when would vigilance enquiries be initiated in the above matter of out of turn disposal of applications/returns/petitions/grievances, if any?


I am separately depositing Rs 50 as application fee.

Yours sincerely,