Guide For First Appellate Authority
It is the responsibility of the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of a public authority to supply correct and complete Information within the specified time to any person seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005. There are possibilities that a CPIO may not act as per provisions of the Act or an applicant may not otherwise be satisfied with the decision of the CPIO. The Act contains provision of two appeals to tide over such situations. The first appeal lies within the public authority by the concerned public authority. The first Appellate Authority happens to be an officer senior in rank to the CPOI. The second appeal lies with the Central Information Commission. The Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) The Guidelines contained in this document are meant for the First Appellate Authorities.
In order to perform his/her duties effectively, the Appellate Authority should study the Act carefully and understand its provisions correctly. This document explains some of the important aspects of the Act which a First Appellate Authority should, in particular, be conversant with.
What is Information
- Information is nay material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mail, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force.
- A citizen has a right to seek such information form a public authority with is held by the public authority or witch is held under its control. This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of document or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority.
- The act gives the citizen a right to information at per with the Members of Parliament and the Members of State Legislatures. According to the Act, the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature, shall not be denied to nay person.
- A citizen has a right to obtain to an information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print-outs provided such information is already stored in a computer or in any other device from which the information may be transferred to diskettes etc.
- The information to the applicant should ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought. However, if the supply of information sought in a particular from would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or any cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, supply of information in that from may be denied.
- The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of India. It does not make provision for giving information to corporation, Associations, Companies etc. which are legal entities/persons, but not citizens. However, if an application is made by an employee or office - bearer of any Corporation, Association, Company, NGO etc. indicating his name and such employee/office bearer is a citizen of India, information may be supplied to him/her. In such cases, it would be presumed that a citizen has sought information at the address of the Corporation etc.
- Only such information is required to be supplied under the Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is beyond the scope of the Act to create information; or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions.