What is Right to Information?

Every citizen has a right to know how the
Government is functioning. Right to Information empowers every citizen
to seek any information from the Government, inspect any Government
documents and seek certified photocopies thereof. Some laws on Right to
Information also empower citizens to official inspect any Government
work or to take sample of material used in any work.

Right to Information includes the right to:

  1. Inspect works, documents, records.
  2. Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
  3. Take certified samples of material.
  4. Obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes,
    video , cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts.

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 force.

“record” includes:

a) Any document, manuscript and file
b) Any microfilm, microfiche, and facsimile copy of a document
c) Any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and
d) Any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

An applicant cannot ask for opinions/advice/views under the RTI Act, unless the opinion/advice/view is already on “record”.

However, under Section 4(1)(d), an applicant can ask for “reasons”
behind a administrative or quasi judicial decision of a public
authority, especially if he is a “affected person”.

Who can ask for information under Right to Information?

Any citizen can ask for information under these laws.The Act extends to
the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

OCI’s (Overseas Citizens of India) and PIO’s (Persons of Indian Origin)
card holders can also ask for information under the RTI Act.

For citizens, OCI’s and PIO’s who are staying out of India, the RTI
Application can be filed with the PIO of the local Indian
Embassy/Consulate/High Commission and they will inform you regarding
the amount of application fee in local currency as well as the mode of

How to write an RTI Application?

  • Pre-requisites:
    • Your name, address, contact telephone number and your email id
    • Information about Public Information officer, name, address e.t.c. Locate central Government PIO’s here!
      In case you have problems locating your PIO/APIO you can address your
      RTI application to the Pio C/o Head of Department and send it to the
      concerned Public Authority with the requisite application fee. The Head
      of Department will have to forward your application to the concerned
    • Do not adress your RTI application to the PIO by his
      name, just in case he gets transferred or a new PIO is designated in
      his place.
  • Are there any organization in Government not covered under RTI Act?
  • Mode
    of Payment available with CPIO, the fees, and Contact person to receive
    the application. (In most of the cases the Assistant Chief Public
    Information officer, ACPIO or directly the CPIO).

Authorities under the centre, states, legislatures and Supreme/High
courts have framed separate rules for RTI. The amount of fees and the
mode of payment varies and you should check the correct rules as
applicable in your case.

Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:

  • In person by paying cash [remember to take your receipt]
  • By Post through:
  • Demand Draft/Bankers Cheque
  • Indian Postal Order
  • Money orders (only in some states)
  • Affixing Court fee Stamp (only in some states)
  • Some
    state governments have prescribed some head of account. You are
    required to deposit fee in that account. For that, you can either go to
    any branch of SBI and deposit cash in that account and attach deposit
    receipt with your RTI application. Or you can also send a postal order
    or a DD drawn in favour of that account along with your RTI
    application. Please see respective state rules for complete details
  • For
    Public Authorities under Central RTI rules, DoPT has recently clarified
    that BC/DD/IPO can be in favour of “Accounts Officer”. If the
    department or administrative unit does not have a Accounts Officer,
    they are supposed to designate someone, as per DoPT circular

Application Guidelines:
While filing an RTI application, the framing of the questions is very
important. A slight misunderstanding or vague questions gives the PIO a
chance to reject your application. Follow these guidelines:

  • Use
    a white sheet of paper to write an application. There is no need to
    using Note-sheet, or the Court stamp paper. You can use your letter pad
    for asking for information.
  • The matter can be hand written, or typed. There is no compulsion of typing the content.
  • Make sure the application is legible and easy to read.
  • There is no restriction on number of pages for asking information.
  • There
    are also no restriction on number of questions that can be asked in one
    application. However, it is generally advisable to ask restrict one
    application with limited set of questions and generally related ones.

  • Be very specific & ask to the point questions. Don’t ask vague questions.
  • Ask as many short questions as you like ,but don’t ask for voluminous information.
  • Ask information always by writing your name and signature, and not by your post, as only citizen have the right to information.
  • Do
    not ask a question containing ‘WHY’! For example, questions like why
    you failed to pass the bill, is liable to be rejected for not covering
    under RTI Act.
  • You can ask for reasons behind a
    “administrative” or a “quasi-judicial” decision under Section 4(1)(d),
    especially if you are a “affected person”
  • If the information sought is voluminous, it is better to ask it in the form of CD to save on cost.
  • Remember that, you do not need to write the reason for asking the information.
  • Mention
    the payment details like BC/DD/IPO number, issuing bank/post office,
    date, cash receipt details , etc., towards the end of your application

How to submit a RTI Application?

You will need a proof, that your RTI application has been received by
the PIO. The tested methods to submit a RTI application are:

  • Personally, by hand: Please
    ensure that you get your copy of the application and proof of payment
    duly stamped, signed and dated, either by the PIO or by the inward
  • Registered Post AD: The AD card will act as
    proof of submission, after it is returned to you by the postal
    department. In case the AD card does not come back with a proper stamp,
    signature and date of receipt, follow up with the despatching post
    office to get the AD card completed
  • Speed Post (A postal department service): Once the application is sent by Speed Post, track it on and keep a print out of the delivery status carefully with you

Do not use ordinary post, private courier companies, etc. since these will not provide you with a confirmed proof of delivery.

Designated Post Offices:

In order to facilitate citizens in filing RTI applications, the
government has designated certain Post Offices for accepting RTI
applications addressed to Public Authorities (PA’s) under Central
Government. These cannot be used for submitting RTI Applications addressed to State PA’s, Legislatures, Courts, etc.

A list of designated Post Offices is available here:

Download the Sample RTI Application

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The sample application for Income Tax Refund


  1. You should get refund order maximum within 12 months from end of financial year in which I.T. return is filed
  2. If you do not get refund as above submit by regd. ad post letter as per annexure A. with its enclosures.
  3. If no refund or reply is received within 30 days, file RTI
    application as per annexure B. Enclose IPO for Rs.10/- in the name of
    Accounts Officer, Income Tax Dept, Govt of India and made payable at
    the place of submission of RTI application. IPO is available at near-by post office. Also enclose photocopy of annexure A and its enclosures.
  4. If no action is taken within 35-40 days of mailing RTI application, file first appeal  within next 35-40 days, contact local RTI activists for preferring second and final appeal to Central Information Commission, New Delhi.
  5. Avoid
    visiting Income Tax Office. You may waste time, money and energy and
    will have unpleasant experience of govt. office ! Deal through
    regd/speed ad post. Avoid courier service.
  6. Retain photocopy of all papers sent to IT Dept. for future reference.
  7. Concerned Income Tax Assessing Officer is the CPIO of the ward.
  8. You can visit for guidance.
  9. U can also refer the matter to Income Tax Ombudsman, details of which are on website mentioned at 8 above.

10. Please also try

Our experience shows that in most of the cases, only RTI application or indication that RTI application will follow, yields the result.

Your follow-up as above will benefit you and also improve the system of
the dept so that other assesses will also get refunds in time.

All the good luck to you.

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The sample application for Passport Status


Large numbers of visitors to this site are facing delay in issue or renewal of passports. They can file attached RTI application to expedite the process, in case of unreasonable delay.

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The sample application for Provident Fund

There are large number of queries and problems regarding delay in settlement of Provident Fund dues by EPFO.

I am attaching format for filing RTI application for expediting settlement of dues.

For address of CPIO and payee of postal order, pl visit If you cannot get these details, pl send applicatation to CPIO of nearest PF office with postal order of Rs.10 favouring


He is bound to redirect within five days of receipt by him to correct
CPIO after referring your details and copy of application for
withdrawal already submitted by you.

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What is the time limits under which you will get the information?


  • 3rd Party can be anyone other than the citizen applying for information
  • Please account for adequate time for postal delays

time limit has been prescribed under which the information can be
obtained under Right to Information Act. These time limits are
prescribed by the Act itself, and failing which an RTI Applicant can
approach appropriate authorities for relief.

Following are the various time limits specified in the RTI Act 2005

For matters involving “Life and Liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide information is 48 Hours.

For PIO to reply to application 30 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to transfer to another PA under Sec 6(3) 5 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to issue notice to 3rd Party 5 days from date of receipt of application
For 3rd Party to make a representation to PIO 10 days from receipt of notice from PIO
For PIO to reply to application if 3rd Party involved 40 days from date of receipt of application
For applicant to make First Appeal 30 days from date of receipt of PIO’s reply or from date when reply was to be received
For First Appellate Authority to pass an order 30 days from receipt of First Appeal OR
Maximum 45 days, if reasons for delay are given in writing
For applicant to make Second Appeal before CIC/SIC 90 days from receipt of First Appeal orders or from the date when orders were to be received
For CIC/SIC to decide Second Appeal No time limit specified

How to write First Appeal under RTI?

13 Simple Guidelines to follow while filing 1st Appeal under Right to Information Act 2005.

  1. First
    appeal has to be filed within 30 days from date of receipt of decision
    of CPIO by the applicant with First Appellate Authority (FAA).
  2. If
    no reply is received within 30 days (35 days if application is lodged
    with ACPIO) from the date of receipt by CPIO (ACPIO), then first appeal
    has to be filed within 30 days from the date when reply was due from
  3. Find out name, designation and address of first
    appellate authority from the decision letter of CPIO. If no reply is
    received, visit the web-site of the govt. dept/office/undertaking and
    refer RTI icon for these details.
  4. Despite above efforts, if you are not in a position to locate details of FAA, address your first appeal as under:
    The First Appellate Authority under RTI Act 2005
    Head of _______________Dept/office
    and mention address of CPIO’s dept/office
  5. If you want to be present during the first appeal hearing, mention it at the end of your appeal.
  6. No fee is prescribed for first appeal for Public Authorities under the Central Government.
  7. Some
    States have a prescribed fee and a specified format for First Appeal.
    Please check RTI Rules of individual Sates regarding First Appeal fees
    (if any), mode of payment, format (if any) if your First Appeal is to a
    Public Authority falling under State Government. Please visit for details of various states.
  8. All
    photocopies of enclosures mentioned in the appeal should be
    self-attested by the applicant under the word ‘Attested’ and full
  9. Retain one set of appeal and postal receipt and AD receipt.
  10. You can deliver personally also, but mailing by registered ad/speed post is preferable. Couriers should be avoided.
  11. FAA
    has to decide on the appeal within 30 days from the date of receipt of
    first appeal. He can take a further 15 days (total 45 days), provided
    he gives the reasons for the delay in writing.
  12. The FAA can give either a “spoken” order or a written order.
  13. Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued specific instructions to FAA’s.

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How to File a Second Appeal under RTI?

Kindly follow these guidelines for filling Second Appeal at Central Information Commission.

  1. Fill
    in the above appeal/complaint form, index and chronological order of
    progress. If you are filing appeal remove ‘complaint/complainant’
    words. If complaint is being filed, cut words “second appeal/appellant”
  2. Get it typed in double space.
  3. Get one photocopy of:
    • Original application under RTI with its enclosures
    • First appeal with its enclosures
    • Bank demand draft/pay slip/postal order/cash receipt used for paying filing fee of Rs.10/-and other charges
    • Copy of demand letter of CPIO for charges if any
    • Postal proof of mailing original application and first appeal
    • Postal AD slips/official acknowledgement received from CPIO and FAA
    • Decisions of CPIO and FAA if received
  4. Arrange
    all papers as per index and then serially number all papers on right
    hand side top corner. This is one original set of second
  5. Prepare additional four sets as above by photocopying.
  6. Sign each page of appeal, index and chronology chart [all five sets].
  7. Self attest all the photocopies by signing under the word “Attested”
  8. Send
    one set by speed/regdad/upc post to each of CPIO and FAA and attach
    photocopy of proof of mailing to the original, extra copy of second
    appeal/complaint and your copy after filling details in
    index/chronology chart.
  9. Mail original set and one extra copy of set by registered AD to the commission at the following address:
    The Registrar,
    II floor, August Kranti Bhavan,
    Bhikaji Kama Place,
    NEW DELHI 110066
  10. Avoid courier services.
  11. Retain
    one set for your record and reference, with proof of mailing and AD
    received from CIC/CPIO/FAA for having received second appeal/complaint.
  12. If
    postal AD card is not received or acknowledgement letter is not
    received from CIC within 15 days of mailing, it is better to send by
    speed post copy of only second appeal/complaint [without enclosures]
    with a request to trace the same at CIC. Photocopy of regd post receipt
    may also be mailed to CIC.
  13. You can consult local NGO/RTI activist for filing first or second appeal to have better result. Services are generally free.

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How to make a COMPLAINT under RTI Act?


Section 18 of the act empowers Central Information Commission [CIC] and
also State Information Commissions [SICs] to enquire into complaints
against Public Authority, Public Information Officer [PIO] and First
Appellate Authority [FAA]. The section has provided for enquiring and
taking corrective steps by the respective commissions in respect of
majority of problems that the applicant/appellant may face in getting
information to which he is entitled to under this act.
Situations under which complaint can be lodged

  1. No PIO or APIO or FAA is appointed by public authority.
  2. PIO/APIO/FAA has refused to receive application/appeal.
  3. No reply is received from PIO & FAA within time limit fixed by the act.
  4. Reply received from PIO is unsatisfactory, irrelevant, unreadable, misleading, unclear, false, incomplete etc.
  5. Information has been wrongly and unjustifiably refused.
  6. When applicant is required to pay fee/charges in excess of those prescribed in RTI rules applicable.
  7. PIO/APIO is not accessible in person or by post and his whereabouts are not easily available/prominently exhibited.
  8. Proactive disclosure under section 4 [1] has not been made or it is not made publicly available/accessible.
  9. PIO/FAA
    has wrongly refused inspection of records of public authority or
    reasonable cooperation is not extended during inspection.
  10. PIO,
    FAA or any other person directly/indirectly intimidates or ill-treats
    or pressurizes the applicant/appellant or restraints him from
    exercising his right under the act.
  11. PIO/FAA disobeys orders of CIC/SIC.
  12. Any
    other situation where the citizen has been wrongly restrained/refused
    access to information to which he is entitled under the act.
  13. Any other violation of provisions of the act by public authority, PIO or FAA.

How to lodge complaint

  1. Complaints
    relating to information of central government public authorities are to
    be lodged with Central Information Commission [CIC], August Kranti
    Bhavan, Bhikaji Kama Place,NEW DELHI 110066. []
    In case of information of public authorities of State Govts, complaints
    have to be lodged with respective State Information Commissions [SICs].
    Details are available on official websites of State Govts. /State
    Information Commissions. Please visit for statewise details.
  2. CIC
    and some of SICs have prescribed minimum information or papers that
    must be submitted with the complaint. Some SICs have prescribed format
    for complaint. For CIC and those SICs, which have not prescribed
  3. CIC does not charge any fee for complaints. Some SICs charge fees for this purpose.
  4. There
    is no time limit for lodging complaint, but it is advisable to lodge
    the same within reasonable time of happening of cause for complaint.
  5. Send copy of complaint to PIO/FAA simultaneous with CIC/SIC. At times PIO/FAA solves your problem before hearing at CIC/SIC.
  6. Ask for punishment to PIO/FAA under the act and also claim compensation for not getting the information in time.
  7. Information
    Commissions are vested with powers of Civil Courts in respect of
    summoning, enforcing attendance, giving evidence on oath, producing
    records, etc.
  8. Complaint is in addition to Second/final Appeal available to applicants.
  9. It
    is advisable to simultaneously approach head of the organization or
    govt. dept at capital-level [secretary/chief secretary] for his
    intervention. This may help get information.
  10. After lodging complaint, please check from concerned website if the same is registered and registration number and status.
  11. In
    case of information pertaining to life and liberty, the complaint
    should be conspicuously branded as “Life & Liberty-Urgent” so that
    priority is accorded for its disposal before it is too late. Follow-up
    through email is recommended if available with SIC.
  12. CIC/SICs
    are flooded with appeals/complaints and there is huge pendency. Thus it
    may take 12 to 36 months before complaint is heard.
  13. It is
    advisable to take free help from experienced RTI activists/NGO if
    locally available so that matter can be effectively and properly
    represented through complaint.

From Which organization of Government I cannot get Information?

The Second Schedule of the RTI Act exempts certain Public Authorities
under the Central Government from disclosure of information under the
RTI Act 2005.

However, these Public Authorities have to respond to RTI Applications
which pertain to subjects of Human Rights and Corruption. As per
Section 5(1) of the RTI Act and the instructions of DoPT, they are also
supposed to have a PIO and a AA.
(Please see:…24_2007_IR.pdf)

As on 28th March 2008, the following is the list in the Second Schedule:

1. Intelligence Bureau.
2. Research and Analysis Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat.
3. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
4. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.
5. Directorate of Enforcement.
6. Narcotics Control Bureau.
7. Aviation Research Centre.
8. Special Frontier Force.
9. Border Security Force.
10. Central Reserve Police Force.
11. Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
12. Central Industrial Security Force.
13. National Security Guards.
14. Assam Rifles.
15. Sashastra Seema Bal.
16. Directorate General of Income-tax (Investigation) .
17. National Technical Research Organisation.
18. Financial Intelligence Unit, India.
19. Special Protection Group.
20. Defence Research and Development Organisation.
21. Border Road Development Board.
22. National Security Council Secretariat

Similarly, some States within the union has also exempted certain
Public Authorities in the respective states, from the purview of the
Act. Please check separately for each State.

To read the full act visit here:

NOTE: Vide a gazette Notification dated 8th October 2008, one more organisation was added to the exempted list:

22. National Security Council Secretariat…_6_2008_IR.pdf