If RTI is a “fundamental” right, then why do we need an “Act”?
Simply because if you go into a Govt. office and demand that they tell you why your work has not been done, they will not entertain you or might even throw you out. If it’s a law, then it becomes harder to do this. If they do not give you the information you want, they will have broken a law and can be punished for it!
Who will give me information I am looking for?
One or more officers in every Government Department have been made “Public Information Officers” (PIO). If you want some information, you need to file an application with the PIO. The PIO’s are responsible for collecting information wanted by you and providing that information to you.
Also, several officers have been appointed as Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs). Their job is only to accept applications from the public and forward it to the right PIO.
Can the PIO refuse to give me information?
A PIO can refuse information on certain subjects. These include information received in confidence from foreign governments, information prejudicial to security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country, breach of privilege of legislatures, etc.
But, do not worry about this!
For an average citizen like you and me, the information we are looking for does not come under these categories. So the PIO can not refuse to give us information.
Where do I submit the application for information?
You can do that with the PIO or with APIO of the Govt. department you are questioning.
In the case of all Central Government Departments, certain “post offices” have been designated as APIOs. This means that you can go to any of these post offices and submit your “fee” and “application” at the RTI counter in these post offices.
They will issue you a receipt and acknowledgement and it is then the responsibility of that post office to deliver it to the right PIO. The list of these post offices is