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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Right to Information Act (RTI Act) was enacted in the year 2005 to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for 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. The RTI Act, 2005 extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. There is a separate Jammu and Kashmir RTI Act, 2009.

  • Any organization, which is a Public Authority as defined under section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, will be covered under this Act. Public Authority means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; by any other law made by Parliament/State Legislature or by notification issued or order made by the Central/State Government.

    It also includes a body owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by Central/State Government.

    A non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the Central/State Government, will also be treated as public authority under the RTI Act.

    An illustrative list of Central Public Authorities will include Departments/Organizations under the Government of India, Central Public Sector Undertakings, public sector Banks, public sector Insurance Companies, Universities/Institutions set up or substantially funded by Central Government etc.

    An illustrative list of State Public Authorities will include Departments/ Organizations under the State Government, Institutions of local self-Government such as Municipal Corporations/Municipalities/ Panchayats, State public sector undertakings, Universities/Institutions/ Colleges/Schools receiving Grant-in-Aid from State Government etc.

  • The term information has been defined under section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. It means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.

  • The term Right to Information is defined under section 2 (j) of the RTI Act. It means the right to information accessible under this Act, which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes:

  • As per Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, a person has to make a request in writing or through electronic mode to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the concerned department/organization/institution/ office. For example, if a person desires to have information from a District Collector’s office, he has to apply to the PIO of the said office.
    The application for obtaining information may be typed or handwritten, but it should be legible and easy to read. It should clearly specify the particulars of the information sought by the applicant.
    While making an RTI application, a person is not required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him. [Section -6(2)].

  • As per the Gujarat Right to Information Rules 2010, every R.T.I. application should be accompanied by fee of Rs. 20/-. This fee can be paid in cash wherever facility for cash receipt is available or by demand draft or by pay order or in the form of Non-Judicial stamp or Non Judicial Stamp Paper or stamping through franking or Electronic stamping or Court fee stamp or Judicial stamp paper or Indian Postal order or revenue stamp or by Challan credited in the Government Treasury through authorized banks in the budget head 0070 - other administrative services, 60 - other services, 800 – other receipt, (17) – fees and other charges under these rules.
    For making RTI application to the Gujarat High Court or Subordinate Courts, the amount of fee has been prescribed under the Gujarat High Court (Right to Information) Rules 2005, which is presently Rs. 50/-.
    In accordance with the proviso under sub section 5 of section 7 of the RTI Act, no fee shall be charged from the persons who are below poverty line (BPL).

  • Section 7(1) of the RTI Act states that the Public Information Officer (PIO), on receipt of an application shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act.
    However, if the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

  • If an application is made to the P.I.O. of a public authority for seeking information which is held fully/partly by another public authority, the P.I.O. shall transfer the application or the relevant part of it to the concerned public authority within 5 days from the receipt of the application. [Section – 6(3)].

  • The amount of fees and other charges for providing information or inspection of records have been prescribed under the Gujarat Right to Information Rules, 2010. It is Rs. 2/- per page for A-4/A-3 size paper. For larger size paper and for providing sample, model or photograph, the amount of fee will be the actual cost. For inspection of records, no fees will be charged for the first half an hour. Thereafter, a fee of Rs. 20/- for each half an hour will be charged. However, if a separate system/procedure or fees/charges exist in a public authority, the same shall be applicable.
    In case of High Court and Subordinate Courts, the fee for providing information is in accordance with the RTI rules framed by the Gujarat High Court. It is Rs. 5/- per page. For priced publications, the amount of fee will be the same as the price fixed for such publication.
    In accordance with the proviso of sub section 5 of Section 7 of the RTI Act, no fee shall be charged for providing information from the persons who are in the BPL category.

  • In accordance with the sub-section 6 of section 7 of the RTI Act, the applicant shall be provided the information free of charge where a PIO fails to comply with the time limit specified in the RTI Act.

  • Any person, who does not receive decision/information from the PIO within the time limit or is aggrieved by the decision/response of the PIO, has to prefer an appeal to the first Appellate Auority within 30 days from the expiry of the time limit or from the receipt of decision/response. [Section – 19 (1)].
    Normally, the first Appellate Authority is an Officer who is senior in rank to the PIO in the same department/organization. The first Appellate Authority has to dispose of the appeal within a maximum period of 45 days from the date of filing of the same.

  • An appeal to the first Appellate Authority should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • In case of Central Public Authorities such as departments/ organizations under the Government of India, Central PSUs, public sector Banks, public sector Insurance Companies, Central Universities/Institutions etc., the concerned person has to prefer a second appeal against the decision (or lack of decision) of the first Appellate Authority within 90 days from the date on which the decision should have been made or actually received, to the Central Information Commission at New Delhi. [Section – 19(3)].
    For State Public Authorities such as departments/organizations under the State Government, Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Panchayats, State PSUs, Institutions receiving Grant-in-Aid from State Government etc., a second appeal is to be preferred within the above time limit to the Gujarat Information Commission at Gandhinagar. [Section – 19(3)].

  • A second appeal made to the Central/State Information Commission should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Under section 18(1) of the RTI Act, a person – (a) who has been unable to submit a request to a Public Information Officer either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the Assistant Public Information Officer has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Public Information Officer or senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central/State Information Commission; (b) who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act; (c) who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act; (d) who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable; (e) who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information; and (f) in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act, may make a complaint to the Central Information Commission (in case of Central public authorities) or the Gujarat State Information Commission (in case of State public authorities). The concerned Commission may inquire into the matter and take/recommend penal action in accordance with section 20 of the RTI Act.
    However, as per the judgment dated 12-12-2011 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal Nos.10787-10788 of 2011 (Arising out of S.L. P. © No. 32768-32769/2010) – Chief Information Commissioner and Another Versus State of Manipur and Another – the Central/State Information Commission cannot direct the PIO to provide information to the concerned applicant in case of a complaint made under section 18 of the RTI Act.

  • A complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated 9-8-2011 in Civil Appeal No. 6454/2011 ( Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr. V/s Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors.) has observed as below in para No. 35:
    “At this juncture, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about the RTI Act. The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. This is clear from a combined reading of section 3 and the definitions of ‘information’ and ‘right to information’ under clauses (f) and (j) of section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analysed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such non-available information and then furnish it to an applicant. A public authority is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inferences and/or making of assumptions. It is also not required to provide ‘advice or opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant. The reference to ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ in the definition of ‘information’ in section 2 (f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.”

  • Ordinarily non-government organizations/institutions will not be covered under the RTI Act. However, if such an organization/institution receives substantial financial assistance directly or indirectly from the Central/State Government, it can become a public authority under the RTI Act and in that case, the provision of the Act will be applicable to it.

  • Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated 7-10-2013 in Civil Appeal No. 9017 of 2013 (Thalappalam Ser. Co-op. Bank Ltd., and others V/s State of Kerala and others) has held that Co-operative Societies will not fall within the definition of public authority as defined under section 2 (h) of the RTI Act in the absence of materials to show that they are owned, controlled or substantially financed by appropriate Government. The Court has also observed that the burden to show that a body is owned, controlled or substantially financed or that a non-government organization is substantially financed directly or indirectly by the funds provided by the appropriate Government is on the applicant who seeks information or the appropriate Government and can be examined by the Central/State Information Commission, when the question comes up for consideration. However, in view of the provisions of the section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, subject to the limitation provided under section 8 of the Act, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to the extent the relevant law/rule permits, gather information from the co-operative society and provide the same to an applicant who approaches the Registrar.

  • The term ‘information’ defined under section 2 (f) of the RTI Act includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force. In such a case, the applicant has to approach the PIO of that public authority which can access the information relating to a private body under the provisions of the relevant law. For example, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies can access information from a Co-operative society, if the same is allowed under the relevant Co-operative law.

  • As defined under section 2 (n) of the RTI Act, ‘third party’ means a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority.
    Where a Public Information Officer intends to disclose any information, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Public Information Officer shall within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party for making a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed. Any submission made by the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information. Except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law, disclosure may be allowed by the PIO if the public interest in disclosure outweighs any possible harm to the interest of such third party. [Section – 11].

  • A Public Information Officer can decline to provide Information on the following grounds.

  • Every Public Information Officer is liable for penalty @ 250/- per day upto maximum of Rs. 25,000/- for

  • In an important matter relating to the RTI Act, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 in its judgment dated 9-8-2011 has observed as below in para 37 of its judgment:
    “Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”

  • 12. The petitioner herein sought for copies of all memos, show cause notices and censure/punishment awarded to the third respondent from his employer and also details viz. movable and immovable properties and also the details of his investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions. Further, he has also sought for the details of gifts stated to have accepted by the third respondent, his family members and friends and relatives at the marriage of his son. The information mostly sought for finds a place in the income tax returns of the third respondent. The question that has come up for consideration is whether the above-mentioned information sought for qualifies to be “personal information” as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.
    13. We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression “personal information”, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.
    14. The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are “personal information” which stand exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, unless involves a larger public interest and the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.
    15. The petitioner in the instant case has not made a bona fide public interest in seeking information, the disclosure of such information would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.”

  • The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay at Goa in Writ Petition No. 419 of 2007 in case of Dr. Celsa Pinto Vs.Goa State Information Commission, held that the term information as defined in the RTI Act does not include answers to questions like ‘why’. The relevant part of the judgment is reproduced below:
    “The definition of information cannot include within its fold answers to the question “why” which would be same thing as asking the reason for a justification for a particular thing. The public information authorities cannot expect to communicate to the citizen the reason why a certain thing was done or not done in the sense of a justification because the citizen makes a requisition about information. Justifications are matter within the domain of adjudicating authorities and cannot properly be classified as information.”
    Of course, if reasons for taking a decision are available on record or in files, the same will have to be provided by PIO subject to the exemptions provided under section 8 of the RTI Act.

  • The obligations of the public authorities are mainly provided under section 4(1), 4(2) and 4(3) of the RTI Act, which read as below:
    “4. (1) Every public authority shall –
    (a) maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerized are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerized and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated;
    (b) publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act (commonly referred to as Proactive Disclosure) -
    (i) the particulars of its organization, functions and duties;
    (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees;
    (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, included channels of supervision and accountability;
    (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;
    (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;
    (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control;
    (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof;
    (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public;
    (ix) a directory of its officers and employees;
    (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;
    (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made;
    (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;
    (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it;
    (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form;
    (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;
    (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers;
    (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed; and thereafter update these publications every year;
    (c) publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public;
    (d) provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons.
    (2) It shall be a constant endeavor of every public authority to take steps in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section (1) to provide as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.
    (3) For the purposes of sub-section (1), every information shall be disseminated widely and in such form and manner which is easily accessible to the public.”

  • The Central/State Information Commission shall consist of the Chief Information Commissioner and such number of Information Commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary. (Sections - 12 and 15).
    The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister. (Section - 15).
    The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance (Section - 15).
    The State Chief Information Commissioner and every State Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of 5 years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. (Section - 16).

  • The Public Authority would bear the postal charges to furnish information to the applicants.

  • The Public Authority would bear the postal charges to furnish information to the applicants.

  • If a person is unable to make a request in writing, he/she may seek reasonable assistance from the PIO. Where a decision is taken to give access to a sensorily disabled person to any document, the PIO shall provide such assistance to the person as may be appropriate for inspection.

  • There is no fee for filing 1st appeal, 2nd appeal and complaint in Gujarat.

  • There is facility in Gujarat Information Commission to file 2nd Appeal and Complaint through electronic media.

  • Under Section 6(1) of the RTI Act-2005, request for information may be made in English, Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. In Gujarat the Official language is Gujarati.

  • The Complaints and Second Appeals filed in this Commission under the RTI Act are taken up for hearing in chronological order. However, the Commission in a particular matter may decide to accord precedence depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

  • As Second Appellate Authority, Gujarat Information Commission has jurisdiction over all public authorities under Government of Gujarat which are established, constituted, owned, controlled and substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the Government of Gujarat. These includes Raj Bhavan, High Court and all other Courts, all Ministries/Departments, Public Sector Undertakings under the Government of Gujarat.

  • The Public Information Officer has no power to call the Applicant for collecting information. He should provide the information/decision within the stipulated time limit to the Applicant. Authority: Sub-section(1) Section-7.

  • Assistant Public Information Officer can only receive the applications for information or appeals under the RTI Act for forwarding the same forthwith to the PIO or Appellate Authority or the Information Commission as the case may be.
    Authority : Sub-Section (2) of Section 5.

  • In case an applicant fails to get a response from the PIO within the prescribed period of 30 days or is aggrieved by the response, then he/she can file an appeal within 30 days of receipt of the decision of the PIO before an officer senior in rank to the PIO.

  • Gujarat Information Commission has prescribed a form for 2nd Appeal and Complaint. The form is available in the web-site of the Commission.

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