This article on ‘Set up online RTI portal within 3 months, SC orders HCs: All you need to know‘ was written by Arpita Tiwari, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Information is an absolute and genuine right of every individual. There are so many philosophers who said that the individual can gain authority through their knowledge and information as they are the main element of knowledge.
Information is a very important tool for an average person as it provides us with knowledge, and it will make an individual a competent person to deal with the modern world. It is the responsibility of the government to provide information to each and every citizen of the country about the daily incidents of what is going on within the government as mentioned it is the right of the individual to know about their government and their plans for the citizens.
The transition from administration to good administration is only possible when the people of our country will be given a chance of increasing public involvement in government and unfettered information availability. Taking this into an account the Indian parliament has approved the Right to Information Act, of 2005 for making our government visible, answerable, accountable and structured.
In this article, the author will discuss the basics of RTI, its objectives and the process for getting information. Further, the author will analyse the recent Supreme court order directing the High Court to set up an RTI Portal within 3 months.
WHAT IS RTI?
The full form of RTI is the Right to Information which is an essential need of every human being the Act provides us with the information, and it is our fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution which says that every person has a right to freely express their opinions and to speak. The RTI authorize citizens to ask for any kind of information from the government, to look at any government records and get a hard copy of those records. Right to Information also provides individuals with the capacity to check out any task done by the government or request a copy of the materials utilised in that work.
GOAL OF RTI
- Encourage people to challenge the government.
- The law encourages efficiency and openness in how the government does business.
- The law further aids in properly serving the needs of the populace and reducing government misconduct.
- The act aims to create more knowledgeable individuals who will maintain essential vigilance regarding how the political system operates.
THE PROCEDURE FOR FILING AN RTI
The first step is to write an application on a blank piece of paper and enumerate the particulars of the details which we want. The second step we need to give valid evidence to the authority by paying the application fee. After the payment has been done, we have to send our application to the right authority that is P.I.O or to the APIO. It is not mandatory to give the grounds for taking any information.
THE TIMELINE PROVIDED TO GET INFORMATION
After receiving the application, it is the duty of the P.I.O. to give a response to that particular application within 30 days from the date of receiving a receipt of the application.
PIO will transmit the application to another PA under section 6(3) of the RTI Act and it should be 5 days from the date of receipt of the application.
If there is any information related to the life and liberty of the individual mentioned under section 7 then the information should be provided within 48 hours.
The time limit provided to PIO to send notice to the third party is 5 days from the date of receipt of the application. The third party has to provide their response within 10 days from the receipt of the notice sent by the PIO. Then it is the duty of the PIO to give a response to the third party within 40 days from the date of receipt of the application.
If you don’t give the details within the given time, that is taken as a rejection.
WHAT TYPE OF INFORMATION WE CAN DEMAND FROM RTI?
- Individuals are allowed to ask for any information from government officials which has been shared by the government in front of the parliament.
- It is not important to provide reasons while asking for the information.
- The individuals are not allowed to demand any type of information which will affect the sovereignty and integrity of India because it is outside the scope of RTI.
- The Act will not provide information that is related to domestic securities, interactions with other nations, intellectual property rights and cabinet meetings as it is not mentioned under the act.
FEES REQUIRED TO PAY TO GET INFORMATION UNDER RTI
We have to give the application fee to fill out the form. For Central Government the prescribed cost is Rs.10. Every state has their own rules for accepting application fees. If we need information from the Central Government, then it costs will be Rs.2 for each page of information. It also varies from state to state. If any individual wants to see any records, then in that case also he has to provide a fee for the same.
If in the case you are checking your records in the first hour then no fees will be charged but further, it will cost Rs.5 for every hour or the part of an hour after. This is how things work according to Central Rules. Before paying the fees, it is mandatory to check the rules of that particular state.
If any individual falls under the criteria of being below the poverty line then he should be absolved from paying the fees for that it is necessary for him to show a valid certificate that has been issued to him from the right authority.
SET UP AN ONLINE PORTAL WITHIN 3 MONTHS SC ORDERS HC
RTI Act will give more power to the citizens by saying that it is the legal right to get information. As per the Act, a person can ask for information about how the different Ministries, Departments, and agencies of the Centre, State, and local governments work. RTI can be filed in two ways either offline or online.
If we physically file an application so it is very difficult for a normal person to file as he or she has to go to the RTI office and stand there in long queues and follow the whole procedure taking this into an account, the government has made it simple for the people so that they can file an RTI requests through Online Portal without standing in a long line.
This is an effort by the Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions to give citizens an RTI Portal Gateway that makes it easy to look up information about first appellate authorities, public information officers, and so on.
Recently Supreme Court ordered High Court on Monday to set up an online portal in all of the High Court, seeing that an online solution is clear in the way the purpose of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The Supreme Court had established a website where people could file RTI requests about the Court.
“We tell all High Courts that they must set up online RTI portals within three months of today. High Courts can come up with the right rules to make sure people get the right information. Information will be sent to the secretary generals of High Courts so that the Chief Justices can give them administrative instructions (of High Courts). The same instructions should be asked for from the Chief Justice of the district court.” Instructions were given by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala. The Supreme Court has already created a portal.
There were already online RTI portals in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Karnataka. The online method will be more practical and easier to use. Pravasi Legal Cell, an NGO, has brought up the lawsuit issue. According to the Petition, there is a very less amount of people who are filing online RTIs that everyone is facing a lot of problems adding to the fact that NRIs have to send their applications in the form of paper to get any information from the government.
CJI DY Chandrachud said, “Section 6(1) of RTI, 2005 says that an individual who is seeking details under the act must submit a written or digital application.” This part says that the RTI candidate has the legal right to move the applications electronically. Even though the RTI Act was passed in 2005, some High Courts have yet to make their online web portals work. This has been going on for 17 years.
The high courts of MP, Delhi, and Orissa all have their own websites. Within 3 months, these portals will be set up in all High Courts. We want the Registrar Generals to ask the Chief Justices of High Courts for help with running the courts. NIC will help with all of the logistics and conceptual details. The petition has been dealt with.”
So, it’s fair to say that the Right to Information Act is a tool for responsible government and openness. It makes the government answer to the citizens more. It helps people understand how government works and offers the chance to help make decisions. It helped spread the idea of democracy by encouraging the government to be open and honest. It makes it less likely that public servants will be dishonest or exercise their powers.
In addition to this, we know that technology has become more advanced day by day and every day there is a new thing which is coming up. With the help of this article, we have seen that the RTI Act is become more advanced after setting up its online portal previously, we don’t have a method or a way through which we can directly file the RTI application but nowadays through the online portal, it will become very easy for the people to file an RTI application by visiting the Online Portal website.
As mentioned above that the Supreme Court of our Country has opened the Online Portal and using it and directed all the High Court to do the same within 3 months as it will easier the work of the Court. Some states of the High Court have set up the portal as I have mentioned above the name of the states, but some are yet to set up as per the order given by the Supreme Court.
- All HC to establish Online RTI Portals Within 3 months: SC, Retrieved: https://thelegalaffair.com/news/all-hc-to-establish-online-rti-portals-within-3-months-sc/
- Supreme Court Directs Online RTI Portal to be Set Up in All HC’s in Three Months, Retrieved: https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-directs-online-rti-portals-to-be-set-up-in-all-hcs-in-three-months
- Know how to file a RTI Application Online, Retrieved: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/how-to/know-how-to-file-an-rti-application-online/article65699024.ece
- Supreme Court orders all HC to establish Online RTI Portal within 3 months, Retrieved: https://www.barandbench.com/news/supreme-court-orders-all-high-courts-establish-online-rti-portals-3-months
- What is RTI? Retrieved: https://aranya.gov.in/aranyacms/downloads/RTI/FAQ_RTI.pdf
- What is Right to Information and How to Use It? Retrieved: https://www.conservationindia.org/wpcontent/files_mf/What_is_Right_to_Information_and_how_to_use_it_final.pdf
- Right to Information, Retrieved: https://righttoinformation.wiki/guide/applicant/fundamental-facts-about-rti
- What is RTI and When did it come into force? Retrieved: https://www.toppr.com/ask/question/what-is-rti-and-when-did-it-come-into-force/