<We would like to thank Information Cell, IIT Madras and Aditya N. for their inputs.>
Imagine that you have applied to avail a government sponsored scholarship. Months pass and you have not received any response from the government. In such a case you could simply file an RTI petition requesting information about the status of your application to the concerned office. Within thirty days the government will provide you the complete information about your application and its processing. You wouldn’t have to make frequent visits to the office, nor would you have to resort to middlemen or illegal practices as bribery. This efficient and timely response to the citizen’s requests was made possible by the Right to Information Act, 2005. On October 5th 2015, India celebrated its 10th anniversary of launching of the RTI Act. Given the occasion let us rejoice over the success of the RTI and our democracy.
There was a time when a large part of the government’s information was “classified”, thereby denying its access to the citizens. Government was then not only inaccessible but also inefficient. Fortunately things have changed. Gone are the days when citizens remained ignorant of the system of governance that surrounds them. In a landmark legislation of 2005, the Government of India launched the Right to Information Act (RTI). RTI was brought with the intention to provide quick access to government information for the requesting citizens. Citizens can seek government information by filing an RTI petition for just Rs 10 and the government will respond to the request within 30 days. The act is applicable to all parts of India except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own separate act. All levels of government come under the purview of RTI, be it the Supreme Court or a panchayat office. The greatest success that RTI brought has been in keeping a check on corruption. With RTI, a large chain of corrupt officials and middlemen were eliminated. While access to government information opens up the government and improves transparency, it can be quite serious in certain fronts. Release of information pertaining to military and defence can threaten the security of the nation and hence the RTI does not cover certain sensitive areas of governance.
Given its role in empowering citizens, it is imperative that we understand the procedure to apply RTI in our institute. Any information regarding the institute can be obtained through the Public Information Officer, who is also the Registrar in this case, by filing an RTI enquiry. An RTI can be filed online, but the digital facility is not available in the institute yet. You can request any information through an RTI in the institute except for the queries concerning the CCW. CCW does not fall under the RTI of the institute; it comes under a separate body.
In order to ease your experience filing an RTI we have provided the steps to file an RTI in the institute:
Step 1. Download an RTI Form available online here.
Step 2. Fill in your query. Provide details regarding your query. You can enquire about any official information regarding the institute which is covered under the RTI scheme, be it construction activities in the campus or academics.
Step 3. Submit it along with a postal stamp or demand draft worth Rupees 10. It is to be filed in the Information Cell (RTI and Legal section) in the Administration Block. Information cell accepts the original copy of petition and provides a signed copy acknowledging the receipt of the request.
Step 4. Sit back and relax! Your query will soon be answered.
The institute is expeditious and complies with the request promptly. Students who have filed RTI in the past were highly satisfied by the response. Once it is filed, your enquiry will be answered through a registered post to the provided address.
If your inquiry is not solved within the next thirty days or you are not satisfied with the information furnished, you should file an appeal to the same authority. The Appellate Authority is liable to issue a written decision on your appeal within the next 45 days. If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Central Information Commission here within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.
Information relating to governance is a crucial right of the citizens. Clean governance cannot be possible unless there is a proper dissemination and channeling of information to the citizens. After a decade of its enactment, the Right to Information Act (2005) truly inspires trust in the governance, triumphantly eliminating the loopholes and refining the system.