1. When does it come into force?
It has come into force on the 12th October 2005 (120th day
of its enactment on 15th June, 2005). Some provisions have
come into force with immediate effect viz. obligations of
public authorities [S.4 (1)], designation of Public Information
Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers [S.5
(1) and 5(2)], constitution of Central Information Commission
(S.12 and 13), constitution of State Information Commission
(S.15 and 16), non-applicability of the Act to Intelligence
and Security Organizations (S.24) and power to make rules
to carry out the provisions of the Act (S.27 and 28).
2. Who is covered?
The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of
Jammu and Kashmir. [S. (12)]
3. What does information mean?
Information 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 but does not include "file notings
4. What does Right to Information mean?
It includes the right to -
1. Inspect works, documents, and records.
2. Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents
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
5. What are the obligations of public authority?
It shall publish within one hundred and twenty days of the
i) The particulars of its organization, functions and duties;
ii) The powers and duties of its officers and employees;
iii) The procedure followed in its decision making process,
including channels of supervision and accountability;
iv) The norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;
v) The rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records
used by its employees for discharging its functions;
vi) A statement of the categories of the document(s) held
by it or under its control;
vii) The particulars of any arrangement that exists for
consultation with, or representation by the members of the
public, in relation to the formulation of a policy or implementation
viii) A statement of the boards, councils, committees and
other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted
by it. Additionally, information as to whether the meetings
of these are open to the public, or the minutes' of such
meetings are accessible to the public;
ix) A directory of its officers and employees;
x) The monthly remuneration received by each of its officers
and employees, including the system of compensation as provided
in its regulations;
xi) The budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating
the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and
reports on disbursements made;
xii) The manner of execution of subsidy programs, including
the amounts allocated and the details and beneficiaries
of such programs;
xiii) Particulars of recipients of concessions, permits
or authorizations granted by it;
xiv) Details of the information available to, or held by
it, reduced in an electronic form;
xv) The particulars of facilities available to citizens
for obtaining information, including the working hours of
a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;
xvi) The names, designations and other particulars of the
Public Information Officers. [S.4 (1) (b)]
6. What is not open to disclosure?
1. Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially
affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security,
strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State,
relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an
2. Information which has been expressly forbidden to be
published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure
of which may constitute contempt of court;
3. Information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach
of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;
4. Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets
or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would
harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the
competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest
warrants the disclosure of such information;
5. Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship,
unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger
public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;
6. Information received in confidence from foreign Government;
7. Information, the disclosure of which would endanger the
life or physical safety of any person or identify the source
of information or assistance given in confidence for law
enforcement or security purposes;
8. Information which would impede the process of investigation
or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;
9. Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of
the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;
10. Information which relates to personal information the
disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity
or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of
the privacy of the individual;
11. Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above,
a public authority may allow access to information, if public
interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected
7. Is partial disclosure allowed?
Only that part of the record which does not contain any
information which is exempt from disclosure and which can
reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt
information, may be provided. [S.10]
8. What does a "public authority" mean?
It means any authority or body or institution of self-government
established or constituted: [S.2 (h)]
- by or under the Constitution;
any other law made by Parliament;
any other law made by State Legislature;
notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government.
and includes any-
a) Body owned, controlled or substantially financed
b) Non-Government organization substantially financed directly
or indirectly by the appropriate Government.
Who is excluded?
Intelligence and Security agencies specified in the Second
Schedule like IB, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,
Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement,
Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation Research Centre, Special
Frontier Force, B.S.F, C.R.P.F, I.T.B.P, C.I.S.F, N.S.G,
Assam Rifles, Special Service Bureau, Special Branch (CID),
Andaman and Nicobar, The Crime Branch-C.I.D-C.B, Dadra and
Nagar Haveli and Special Branch, Lakshadweep Police. Agencies
specified by the State Governments through a Notification
will also be excluded. The exclusion, however, is not absolute
and these organizations have an obligation to provide information
pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights
violations. Further, information relating to allegations
of human rights valuations could be given but only with
the approval of the Central or State Information Commission,
as the case may be. [S.24)]
Who are 'Third Parties'?
third party means a person other than the citizen making
a request for information and includes a public authority.
Third parties have a right to be heard in respect of applications
and appeals dealing with information submitted by them to
the Government in confidence. [S.2 (n) and S.11]
Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?
PIOs are officers designated by the public authorities in
all administrative units or offices under it to provide
information to the citizens requesting for information under
the Act. Any officer, whose assistance has been sought by
the PIO for the proper discharge of his or her duties, shall
render all assistance and for the purpose of contraventions
of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall
be treated as a PIO.
What are the duties of a PIO?
shall deal with requests from persons seeking information
and where the request cannot be made in writing, to render
reasonable assistance to the person to reduce the same in
- If the information requested for is held by or its subject
matter is closely connected with the function of another
public authority, the PIO shall transfer, within 5 days,
the request to that other public authority and inform the
- PIO may seek the assistance of any other officer for the
proper discharge of his/her duties.
- PIO, on receipt of a request, shall as expeditiously as
possible, and in any case within 30 days of the receipt
of the request, either provide the information on payment
of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for
any of the reasons specified in S.8 or S.9.
- Where the information requested for concerns the life
or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within
forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.
- If the PIO fails to give decision on the request within
the period specified, he shall be deemed to have refused
- Where a request has been rejected, the PIO shall communicate
to the requester - (i) the reasons for such rejection, (ii)
the period within which an appeal against such rejection
may be preferred, and (iii) the particulars of the Appellate
- PIO shall provide information in the form in which it
is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the
resources of the Public Authority or would be detrimental
to the safety or preservation of the record in question.
- If allowing partial access, the PIO shall give a notice
to the applicant, informing:
a) That only part of the record requested, after severance
of the record containing information which is exempt from
disclosure, is being provided;
b) The reasons for the decision, including any findings
on any material question of fact, referring to the material
on which those findings were based;
c) The name and designation of the person giving the decision;
d) The details of the fees calculated by him or her and
the amount of fee which the applicant is required to deposit;
e) His or her rights with respect to review of the decision
regarding non-disclosure of part of the information, the
amount of fee charged or the form of access provided.
- If information sought has been supplied by third party
or is treated as confidential by that third party, the PIO
shall give a written notice to the third party within 5
days from the receipt of the request and take its representation
- Third party must be given a chance to make a representation
before the PIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of
What is the Application Procedure for requesting information?
Apply in writing or through electronic means in English
or Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the
PIO, specifying the particulars of the information sought
2. Reason for seeking information are not required to be
3. Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the
below poverty line category).
What is the time limit to get the information?
30 days from the date of application
2. 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty
of a person
3. 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in
case the application for information is given to Assistant
Public Information Officer.
4. If the interests of a third party are involved then time
limit will be 40 days (maximum period + time given to the
party to make representation).
5. Failure to provide information within the specified period
is a deemed refusal.
What is the fee?
Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable.
2. If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated
in writing with calculation details of how the figure was
3. Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged
by the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority;
4. No fees will be charged from people living below the
5. Applicant must be provided information free of cost if
the PIO fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.
What could be the ground for rejection?
If it is covered by exemption from disclosure. (S.8)
2. If it infringes copyright of any person other than the
Who are the Appellate Authorities?
First Appeal: First appeal to the officer senior in rank
to the PIO in the concerned Public Authority within 30 days
from the expiry of the prescribed time limit or from the
receipt of the decision (delay may be condoned by the Appellate
Authority if sufficient cause is shown).
2. Second Appeal: Second appeal to the Central Information
Commission or the State Information Commission as the case
may be, within 90 days of the date on which the decision
was given or should have been made by the First Appellate
Authority. (delay may be condoned by the Commission if sufficient
cause is shown).
3. Third Party appeal against PIO's decision must be filed
within 30 days before first Appellate Authority; and, within
90 days of the decision on the first appeal, before the
appropriate Information Commission which is the second appellate
4. Burden of proving that denial of Information was justified
lies with the PIO.
5. First Appeal shall be disposed of within 30 days from
the date of its receipt. Period extendable by 15 days if
How is Central Information Commission constituted?
Central Information Commission to be constituted by the
Central Government through a Gazette Notification.
2. Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner
(CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC)
who will be appointed by the President of India.
3. Oath of Office will be administered by the President
of India according to the form set out in the First Schedule.
4. Commission shall have its Headquarters in Delhi. Other
offices may be established in other parts of the country
with the approval of the Central Government.
5. Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected
to directions by any other authority. (S.12)
What is the eligibility criteria and what is the process
of appointment of CIC/IC?
Candidates for CIC/IC must be persons of eminence in public
life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science
and technology, social service, management, journalism,
mass media or administration and governance.
2. CIC/IC shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member
of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory. He shall
not hold any other office of profit or connected with any
political party or carrying on any business or pursuing
any profession. (S.12)
3. Appointment Committee includes Prime Minister (Chair),
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and one Union
Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
What is the term of office and other service conditions
CIC shall be appointed for a term of 5 years from date on
which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age
of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
2. CIC is not eligible for reappointment.
3. Salary will be the same as that of the Chief Election
Commissioner. This will not be varied to the disadvantage
of the CIC during service. (S.13)
What is the term of office and other service conditions
IC shall hold office for a term of five years from the date
on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the
age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier and shall
not be eligible for reappointment as IC.
2. Salary will be the same as that of the Election Commissioner.
This will not be varied to the disadvantage of the IC during
3. IC is eligible for appointment as CIC but will not hold
office for more than a total of five years including his/her
term as IC. (S.13)
How is the State Information Commission constituted?
The State Information Commission will be constituted by
the State Government through a Gazette notification. It
will have one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC)
and not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC)
to be appointed by the Governor.
2. Oath of office will be administered by the Governor according
to the form set out in the First Schedule.
3. The headquarters of the State Information Commission
shall be at such place as the State Government may specify.
Other offices may be established in other parts of the State
with the approval of the State Government.
4. The Commission will exercise its powers without being
subjected to any other authority.
What is the eligibility criterion and what is the process
of appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner/State
The Appointments Committee will be headed by the Chief Minister.
Other members include the Leader of the Opposition in the
Legislative Assembly and one Cabinet Minister nominated
by the Chief Minister.
2. The qualifications for appointment as SCIC/SIC shall
be the same as that for Central Commissioners.
3. The salary of the State Chief Information Commissioner
will be the same as that of an Election Commissioner. The
salary of the State Information Commissioner will be the
same as that of the Chief Secretary of the State Government.
What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions?
The Central Information Commission/State Information Commission
has a duty to receive complaints from any person -
a) Who has not been able to submit an information request
because a PIO has not been appointed;
b) Who has been refused information that was requested;
c) Who has received no response to his/her information request
within the specified time limits;
d) Who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable;
e) Who thinks information given is incomplete or false or
f) Any other matter relating to obtaining information under
1. Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds.
2. CIC/SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as -
a) Summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling
them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce
documents or things;
b) Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
c) Receiving evidence on affidavit;
d) Requisitioning public records or copies from any court
e) Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents
f) Any other matter which may be prescribed.
1. All records covered by this law (including those covered
by exemptions) must be given to CIC/SCIC during inquiry
2. Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the
Public Authority includes-
a) Providing access to information in a particular form;
b) Directing the public authority to appoint a PIO/APIO
where none exists;
c) Publishing information or categories of information;
d) Making necessary changes to the practices relating to
management, maintenance and destruction of records;
e) Enhancing training provision for officials on RTI;
f) Seeking an annual report from the public authority on
compliance with this law;
g) Require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment
suffered by the applicant;
h) Impose penalties under this law; or
i) Reject the application. (S.18 and S.19)
What is the reporting procedure?
Central Information Commission will send an annual report
to the Central Government on the implementation of the provisions
of this law at the end of the year. The State Information
Commission will send a report to the State Government.
2. Each Ministry has a duty to compile reports from its
Public Authorities and send them to the Central Information
Commission or State Information Commission, as the case
3. Each report will contain details of number of requests
received by each Public Authority, number of rejections
and appeals, particulars of any disciplinary action taken,
amount of fees and charges collected etc.
4. Central Government will table the Central Information
Commission report before Parliament after the end of each
year. The concerned State Government will table the report
of the State Information Commission before the Vidhan Sabha
(and the Vidhan Parishad wherever applicable). (S.25)
What are the penalty provisions?
PIO will be liable for fine of Rs. 250 per day, up to a
maximum of Rs. 25,000/-, for -
i) Not accepting an application;
ii) Delaying information release without reasonable cause;
iii) Malafidely denying information;
iv) Knowingly giving incomplete, incorrect, misleading information;
v) Destroying information that has been requested and
vi) Obstructing furnishing of information in any manner.
The Information Commission (IC) at the Centre and the State
levels will have the power to impose this penalty. The Information
Commission can also recommend disciplinary action for violation
of the law against an erring PIO. (S.20)
What is the jurisdiction of courts?
Courts are barred from entertaining suits or applications
against any order made under this Act. (S.23) However, the
writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts under
Articles 32 and 225 of the Constitution remains unaffected.
What is the role of Central/State Governments?
Develop educational programs for the public especially disadvantaged
communities on RTI.
2. Encourage Public Authorities to participate in the development
and organization of such programs.
3. Promote timely dissemination of accurate information
to the public.
4. Train officers and develop training materials.
5. Compile and disseminate a User Guide for the public in
the respective official language.
6. Publish names, designation postal addresses and contact
details of PIOs and other information such as notices regarding
fees to be paid, remedies available in law if request is
rejected etc. (S.26)
Who has the Rule making power?
Government, State Governments and the Competent Authority
as defined in S.2 (e) are vested with powers to make rules
to carry out the provisions of the Right to Information
Act, 2005. (S.27 & S.28)
30. Who has the power to deal with the difficulties while
implementing this act?
If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions
in the Act, the Central Government may, by Order published
in the Official Gazette, make provisions necessary/expedient
for removing the difficulty. (S.30)