Frequently Asked Questioned
When does it come into force?
into force on the 12th October, 2005 (120th day of its
enactment on 15th June, 2005). Some provisions have come into
force with immediate effect viz. obligations of public
authorities [S.4(1)], designation of Public Information
Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers[S.5(1) and
5(2)], constitution of Central Information Commission (S.12 and
13), constitution of State Information Commission (S.15 and
16), non-applicability of the Act to Intelligence and Security
Organizations (S.24) and power to make rules to carry out the
provisions of the Act (S.27 and 28).
Who is covered?
The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu
and Kashmir. [S.(12)]
does information mean?
Information 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 other law for the time being in
does Right to Information mean?
It includes the right to -
inspect works, documents, records.
take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or
take certified samples of material.
obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies,
tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or
What are the obligations of public authority?
publish within one hundred and twenty days of the enactment:-
i. the particulars of its organization, functions and duties;
powers and duties of its officers and employees;
procedure followed in its decision making process, including
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 used by
its employees for discharging its functions;
statement of the categories of the documents 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
relation to the formulation of policy or implementation
viii. a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies
consisting of two or more persons constituted
Additionally, information as to whether the meetings of these
are open to the public, or the minutes' of such
accessible to the 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
budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the
particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and
xii. the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the
amounts allocated and the details and beneficiaries
of such programmes;
xiii. particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or
authorizations granted by it;
xiv. details of the information available to, or held by it, reduced in an
particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining
information, including the working hours of a library
reading room, if maintained for public use; xvi.the names, designations and other particulars of the Public
What is not open to disclosure?
The following is exempt from disclosure [S.8)]
information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect
the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security,
strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State,
relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an
information which has been expressly forbidden to be
published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure
of which may constitute contempt of court;
information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of
privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;
information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or
intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the
competitive position of a third party, unless the competent
authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants
the disclosure of such information;
information available to a person in his fiduciary
relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied
that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of
information received in confidence from foreign Government;
information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life
or physical safety of any person or identify the source of
information or assistance given in confidence for law
enforcement or security purposes;
information which would impede the process of investigation
or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;
cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the
Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;
information which relates to personal information the
disclosure of which has no relationship to any public
activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted
invasion of the privacy of the individual;
Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above, a public
authority may allow access to information, if public interest
in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
Is partial disclosure allowed?
Only that part of the record which does not contain any
information which is exempt from disclosure and which can
reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt
information, may be provided. [S.10]
What does a "public authority" mean?
any authority or body or institution of self-government
established or constituted: [S.2(h)]
under the Constitution;
by any other law made by Parliament;
any other law made by State Legislature;
notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government.and includes any-
controlled or substantially financed
non-Government organization substantially financed
indirectly by the appropriate Government.
Who is excluded?
Intelligence and Security agencies specified in the Second
Schedule like IB, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,
Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of
Enforcement, Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation Research
Centre, Special Frontier Force, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG,
Assam Rifles, Special Service Bureau, Special Branch (CID),
Andaman and Nicobar, The Crime Branch-CID-CB, Dadra and Nagar
Haveli and Special Branch, Lakshadweep Police. Agencies
specified by the State Governments through a Notification will
also be excluded. The exclusion, however, is not absolute and
these organizations have an obligation to provide information
pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights
violations. Further, information relating to allegations of
human rights valuations could be given but only with the
approval of the Central or State Information Commission, as the
case may be. [S.24)]
Who are 'Third Parties'?
A third party means a person other than the citizen making a
request for information and includes a public authority. Third
parties have a right to be heard in respect of applications and
appeals dealing with information submitted by them to the
Government in confidence. [S.2(n) and S.11]
Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?
PIOs are officers designated by the public authorities in all
administrative units or offices under it to provide information
to the citizens requesting for information under the Act. Any
officer, whose assistance has been sought by the PIO for the
proper discharge of his or her duties, shall render all
assistance and for the purpose of contraventions of the
provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as
are the duties of a PIO?
PIO shall deal with requests from persons seeking information
and where the request cannot be made in writing, to render
reasonable assistance to the person to reduce the same in
If the information requested for is held by or its subject
matter is closely connected with the function of another
public authority, the PIO shall transfer, within 5 days, the
request to that other public authority and inform the
applicant immediately.PIO, on receipt of a request, shall as expeditiously as
possible, and in any case within 30 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 S.8 or S.9.PIO, on receipt of a
request, shall as expeditiously as possible, and in any case
within 30 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 S.8
or S.9.Where the information requested 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 the PIO
fails to give decision on the request within the period
specified, he shall be deemed to have refused the request.
Where a request has been rejected, the PIO shall communicate
to the requester - (i) the reasons for such
rejection, (ii) the period within which an appeal
against such rejection may be preferred, and (iii) the
particulars of the Appellate Authority.PIO shall provide information in the form in which it is
sought unless it would disproportionately divert the
resources of the Public Authority or would be detrimental to
the safety or preservation of the record in question. If allowing partial access, the PIO shall give a notice to
the applicant, informing:
part of the record requested, after severance of the record
containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being
for the decision, including any findings on any material question
of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were
and designation of the person giving the decision;
of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which
the applicant is required to deposit; and
his or her
rights with respect to review of the decision regarding
non-disclosure of part of the information, the amount of fee
charged or the form of access provided.
information sought has been supplied by third party or is
treated as confidential by that third party, the PIO shall
give a written notice to the third party within 5 days from
the receipt of the request and take its representation into
party must be given a chance to make a representation before
the PIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of such
13. What is the Application Procedure for requesting information?
Apply in writing or through electronic means in English or
Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the PIO,
specifying the particulars of the information sought for.
||Reason for seeking information are not
required to be given;
Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the
below poverty line category).
is the time limit to get the information?
1. 30 days from the date of application
2. 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a
3. 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the
application for information is
given to Assistant Public
4. If the interests of a third party are involved then time limit
will be 40 days (maximum period+
time given to the party to
5. Failure to provide information within the specified period is a
What is the fee?
Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable.
If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated
in writing with calculation details of how the figure was
Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged by
the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority;
No fees will be charged from people living below the poverty
Applicant must be provided information free of cost if the PIO
fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.
Who are the Appellate Authorities?
First Appeal: First appeal to the officer senior in rank to the
PIO in the concerned Public Authority within 30 days from the
expiry of the prescribed time limit or from the receipt of the
decision (delay may be condoned by the Appellate Authority if
sufficient cause is shown).
Second Appeal: Second appeal to the Central Information
Commission or the State Information Commission as the case may
be, within 90 days of the date on which the decision was given
or should have been made by the First Appellate Authority.
(delay may be condoned by the Commission if sufficient cause is
Third Party appeal against PIO's decision must be filed within
30 days before first Appellate Authority; and, within 90 days
of the decision on the first appeal, before the appropriate
Information Commission which is the second appellate authority.
Burden of proving that denial of Information was justified lies
with the PIO.
First Appeal shall be disposed of within 30 days from the date
of its receipt. Period extendable by 15 days if necessary.
How is Central Information Commission constituted?
Central Information Commission to be constituted by the Central
Government through a Gazette Notification.
Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and
not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who will be
appointed by the President of India.
Oath of Office will be administered by the President of India
according to the form set out in the First Schedule.
Commission shall have its Headquarters in Delhi. Other offices
may be established in other parts of the country with the
approval of the Central Government.
Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected to
directions by any other authority. (S.12)
What is the eligibility criteria and what is the process of
appointment of CIC/IC?
Candidates for CIC/IC must 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.
CIC/IC shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the
Legislature of any State or Union Territory. He shall not hold
any other office of profit or connected with any political
party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.
Appointment Committee includes Prime Minister (Chair), Leader
of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and one Union Cabinet
Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
What is the term of office and other service conditions of CIC?
1. CIC shall be appointed for a term of 5 years from date on which
he enters upon his office or
till he attains the age of 65
years, whichever is earlier.
2. CIC is not eligible for reappointment.
Salary will be the same as that of the Chief Election
Commissioner. This will not be varied to
the disadvantage of
the CIC during service. (S.13)
What is the term of office and other service conditions of IC?
IC shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on
which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of
sixty-five years, whichever is earlier and shall not be
eligible for reappointment as IC.
Salary will be the same as that of the Election Commissioner.
This will not be varied to the disadvantage of the IC during
IC is eligible for appointment as CIC but will not hold office
for more than a total of five years including his/her term as
How is the State Information Commission constituted?
notification. It will have
one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and not more
than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC) to be appointed
by the Governor.
Oath of office will be administered by the Governor according
to the form set out in the First Schedule.
The headquarters of the State Information Commission shall be
at such place as the State Government may specify. Other
offices may be established in other parts of the State with the
approval of the State Government.
The Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected
to any other authority.
What is the eligibility criterion and what is the process of
appointment of State Chief
The Appointments Committee will be headed by the Chief Minister.
Other members include the Leader of the Opposition in the
Legislative Assembly and one Cabinet Minister nominated by the
qualifications for appointment as SCIC/SIC shall be the same as
that for Central Commissioners.
of the State Chief Information Commissioner will be the same as
that of an Election Commissioner. The salary of the State
Information Commissioner will be the same as that of the Chief
Secretary of the State Government. (S.15)
What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions?
1. The Central Information Commission/State
Information Commission has a duty to receive complaints from
any person -
who has not been able to submit an information request
because a PIO has not been
who has been refused information that was requested;
who has received no response to his/her information request
within the specified time limits ;
who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable ;
who thinks information given is incomplete or false or
any other matter relating to obtaining information under this
Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds.
SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as -
summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling
them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce
documents or things;
requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
receiving evidence on affidavit ;
requisitioning public records or copies from any court or
issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents
any other matter which may be prescribed.
All records covered by this law (including those covered by
exemptions) must be given to CIC/SCIC during inquiry for
Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the Public
providing access to information in a particular form;
directing the public authority to appoint a PIO/APIO where
publishing information or categories of information;
making necessary changes to the practices relating to
management, maintenance and destruction of records ;
enhancing training provision for officials on RTI;
seeking an annual report from the public authority on
compliance with this law;
require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment
suffered by the applicant ;
impose penalties under this law; or
reject the application. (S.18 and S.19)
What is the reporting procedure?
Central Information Commission will send an annual report to
the Central Government on the implementation of the provisions
of this law at the end of the year. The State Information
Commission will send a report to the State Government .
Each Ministry has a duty to compile reports from its Public
Authorities and send them to the Central Information Commission
or State Information Commission, as the case may be.
Each report will contain details of number of requests received
by each Public Authority, number of rejections and appeals,
particulars of any disciplinary action taken, amount of fees
and charges collected etc.
Central Government will table the Central Information
Commission report before Parliament after the end of each year.
The concerned State Government will table the report of the
State Information Commission before the Vidhan Sabha (and the
Vidhan Parishad wherever applicable). (S.25)
What are the penalty provisions?
Every PIO will be liable for fine of Rs. 250 per day, up to a
maximum of Rs. 25,000/-, for -
not accepting an application;
delaying information release without reasonable cause;
malafidely denying information;
knowingly giving incomplete, incorrect, misleading information;
destroying information that has been requested and
obstructing furnishing of information in any manner.
The Information Commission (IC) at the Centre and the State
levels will have the power to impose this penalty. The
Information Commission can also recommend disciplinary action for
violation of the law against an erring PIO. (S.20)
27. What is the jurisdiction of courts?
What is the jurisdiction of courts?
Lower Courts are barred from entertaining suits or applications
against any order made under this Act. (S.23) However, the writ
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts under Articles
32 and 225 of the Constitution remains unaffected.
28. What is the role of Central/State Governments?
1. Develop educational programmes for the public especially
disadvantaged communities on RTI.
2. Encourage Public Authorities to participate in the development
and organization of such
3.Promote timely dissemination of accurate information to the
4. Train officers and develop training materials.
5. Compile and disseminate a User Guide for the public in the
respective official language.
6. Publish names, designation postal addresses and contact details
of PIOs and other information such
as notices regarding fees to
be paid, remedies available in law if request is rejected etc.
29. Who has the Rule making power?
Central Government, State Governments and the Competent Authority as defined in S.2(e) are vested with powers to make rules to
carry out the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.(S.27 & S.28)