Submitting your Application
Form of Application
When you know exactly what information you want to ask for, you will need to draft up an application. The Central Act and the current Central Government Rules do not specify any particular form in which an application has to be made. Thus, you are able to simply make the application on plain paper. However, some State Government Rules made under the Central Act DO require an application form.
Even when an application form is outlined in the law, it is not always essential to use it when applying. In such cases, an application can be made on a photocopied form or even a handwritten application on blank paper can be submitted. A request in the form of a letter should be accepted as long as all the details required are specified on it.
Formulating Your Application
In order to make sure that your application will be successful, make sure that you draft your application in a clear and precise way. This will ensure that you get the right documents - and that you don't end up getting loads of documents that you don't want but for which you have to pay.
The Central Act explicitly states that an applicant making a request shall not be required to give a reason for their request.
Generic information request formats
Parivartan, a New Delhi-based NGO which works on right to information, has produced a number of useful pamphlets to assist people to ask questions on specific topics. You may wish to use them as the basis for your own queries. The pamphlets cover a range of issues for which information is regularly requested. For example:
Submitting Your Application
Once you have formulated your application, you need to submit your application to the relevant person within the body, for example, under the Central Act, the Public Information Officer within the Public Authority. The Central Act requires that applications should be submitted in writing, although it allows submission orally if an applicant has difficulty with writing. In such cases, the application should be written down by the PIO and a copy given to the applicant. The Central Act even allows for submission via electronic means, for example, email or fax. If you send you application in by post, you should consider sending it by "Under-Certificate Post", which is cheaper than Registered Post but will still reach in a maximum of 3 days.
The Central Act does not clarify whether a receipt is required to be given to an applicant. However, the Central Government Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost Rules) 2005 when read with the Central Government Right to Information Amendment to Fee Rules 2005 state that the application fees accompanying the information request at the time of submission must be paid against proper receipt You should check your relevant State Rules to find out the requirements in your jurisdiction. Using Under-Certificate Post will ensure that you are sent an acknowledgement of the date on which the application was delivered/received.
Once your application has been submitted, the time limits specified in the law for a response will start to run. You have a right to receive a response to your request, whether your application is accepted or your application is rejected, within the period specified in the Act.
What if you submit your application to the wrong body?
The Central Act includes specific provisions requiring that where an application is submitted to one public authority but the information requested is not held by that public authority, the application should be transferred to the body which is most likely to hold the information. The application should not just be rejected.
Under the Central Act, if your application is transferred, the public authority needs to advise you immediately of the transfer. You should be sent a written notice stating which body the application has been transferred to, why it was transferred and when. The Central Act requires that any transfer must be done within 5 days from receiving the application.
Please click on the link to the Central RTI Act to read the detailed provisions contained in the law. Please click on the link to CHRI's State RTI pages to find out more about relevant rules and implementation in your specific State.