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Right to Information: User Guide

Who do you submit your application to?

Once you have identified the relevant body to whom you will submit your request, and confirmed that they are covered by the Central Act, you will then need to find out who is responsible within that body for receiving and processing applications and providing information. Your application will be addressed to this person.

The Central Act requires that every Public Authority nominates Public Information Officers (PIO), in every department, office and unit of the body, who will be responsible for handling applications.

PIOs will also be supported by Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) who will be nominated at each sub-divisional level and will be responsible for receiving applications and sending them on to the relevant PIO.

The Central Act urges Governments to appoint as many PIOs as are necessary to make the law work. In practice, this means that you should be able to submit your application to any PIO or APIO who should be in an accessible location.

If you have access to the internet, you should try to find a list of PIOs on the public authority's website for the jurisdiction you are interested in because section 4 of the Central Act requires PIOs contact details to be proactively disclosed.

It is important to note that PIOs and APIOs have legal obligations under the law to respond to the information requests they receive in the spirit of open government. For example, the Central Act specifically requires PIOs to assist applicants to make applications in writing where they are unable to do so themselves. However, experience at the State level has shown that, particularly where the law is new, public officials often do not yet know their responsibilities and/or are reluctant to implement them.

If you try to apply to a PIO or APIO for information and they fail to carry out their duties under the law, consider approaching their superior officer or approaching the Department which has overall responsibility for implementing the Central Act (usually the State General Administrative Department or Information Ministry and at the Central level, the Department of Personnel and Training). Under the Central Act, you can also utilise the appeals process, which specifically allows you to appeal to the newly created Information Commission if a PIO refused to accept your 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.