RTI Act 2005: A very powerful and useful act to the citizens of India.
A citizen has a right to seek such information from a public authority which is held by the public authority or which is held under its control. This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority.
While submitting information under this act the Public Information Officer feels uncertain at times.
In such cases, the following guidelines are very useful……
It is important to note that only such information can be supplied under the Act that is available and existing and is held by the public authority or is held under the control of the public authority. The Public Information Officer is not supposed to create information that is not a part of the record of the public authority. The Public Information Officer is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inference and/or making of assumptions; or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions.
- A citizen has a right to obtain information from a public authority 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.
- 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 form would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or may cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, supply of information in that form may be denied.
- In some cases, the applicants expect the Public Information Officer to give information in some particular proforma devised by them on the plea that they have a right to get information in the form in which it is sought. It need be noted that the provision in the Act simply means that if the information is sought in the form of photocopy, it shall be provided in the form of photocopy, or if it is sought in the form of a floppy or in any other electronic mode, it shall be provided in that form, subject to the conditions given in the Act. It does not mean that the PIO shall re-shape the information.
- Some Information Seekers request the Public Information Officers to cull out information from some document(s) and give such extracted information to them. A citizen has a right to get ‘material’ from a public authority which is held by or under the control of that public authority. The Act, however, does not require the Public Information Officer to deduce some conclusion from the ‘material’ and supply the ‘conclusion’ so deduced to the applicant. It means that the Public Information Officer is required to supply the ‘material’ in the form as held by the public authority, but not to do research on behalf of the citizen to deduce anything from the material and then supply it to him.
Hope that the above few lines which I found recently will be helpful to all of us.
For further information click on the link……. http://rti.gov.in/RTICorner/Guide_2013-issue.pdf
(No. 1/32/2013-IR, Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public
Grievances & Pensions, Department of Personnel & Training)
By Er. G Srinivasa Reddy