RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005

RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005
Objective of the Right to Information Act
Objective of the Right to Information Act

The Government of India has enacted 'the Right to Information Act 2005' to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of Public Authorities. The basic objective of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Public Authorities, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.

What is Information
What is Information

Information is any material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force.

What is Right to Information
What is Right to Information

The right to information includes an access to the information which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to inspect the work, document, records, taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents / records and certified samples of the materials and obtaining information which is also stored in electronic form.

Who can Seek information
Who can Seek information

Section 3 of the Right to Information Act provides as under:

"Subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have the right to information."

Normally, an applicant is not required to submit any proof of citizenship. However, if the CPIO has any doubt about the identity of the applicant he can seek for his proof of identification.

The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of India. It does not make provision for giving information to Corporations, Associations, and 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 or 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.

What is a Public Authority
What is a Public Authority

A "public authority" is any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; or by any other law made by the Parliament or a State Legislature; or by notification issued or order made by the Central Government or a State Government. The bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government and non-Government organizations substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government also fall within the definition of public authority. State Bank of India is a Public Authority.

Structure of RTI in the Bank
Structure of RTI in the Bank
Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO)

The Bank has designated 14478 officers up to the rank of Asstt. General Manager as Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO) in the Bank. These officers send the application or appeal to the Central Public Information Officer or the concerned Appellate Authority for disposal. An Assistant Public Information Officer is not responsible for supply of the information.

Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)

Central Public Information Officers are responsible for giving information to a person who seeks information under the RTI Act. The Bank has designated 897 officers of the rank of AGM and above as Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) in the Bank.

Appellate Authority (A A)

If an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him, he may prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority who is an officer senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer. The Bank has designated 88 officers of the rank of GM and above as Appellate Authorities in Bank.

Format of Application

There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain the name and postal address of the applicant. The application should be made in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, accompanied by the prescribed fee and specifying the particulars of the information sought.

Payment of RTI Fee & Cost of Information

The RTI fee and the cost of information, where applicable, is to be paid by Demand Draft or Bankers Cheque or IPO in the name of 'State Bank of India' and payable at the centre where CPIO is located. Alternatively, applicant may deposit the prescribed fee in the 'P & T Charges Recovered Account' at any branch of the State Bank of India and will attach counterfoil thereof in original with the application / request while forwarding it to the CPIO / CAPIO. A voucher has been specially designed by the Bank for depositing the RTI fee / additional fee.

Prescribed fee and additional cost of information:
Application Fee
Application fees ......................... Rs. 10/-
Additional fee - as cost of information

a.

Rupees two for each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied.

b.

Actual charge or cost price of a copy in large size paper

c.

Actual cost or price for samples or models

d.

Information provided in diskette or floppy rupees fifty per diskette or floppy

e.

Information provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.

What information can be sought

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. It is important to note that only such information can be supplied under the Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. The Central Public Information Officer is not supposed to create information; 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 from which the information may be e-mailed or 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 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 Central 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, it shall be provided in that form subject to the conditions given in the Act. It does not mean that the CPIO shall re-shape the information. This is substantiated by the definition of the term 'right to information' as given in the Act, according to which, it includes right to obtaining 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. Everywhere in the Act, the word 'form' has been used to represent this meaning.

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.

Information which is exempt from Disclosure

The Act provides under Sections 8 and 9, certain categories of information that are exempt from disclosure to the citizens. The following categories of information are exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)

a.

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 offence.

b.

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;

c.

information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;

d.

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;

e.

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;

f.

information received in confidence from foreign Government;

g.

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;

h.

information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;

i.

cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;

j.

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;

Time Norms for disposal of Requests and Appeals Requests:
S.No Situation Time limit for disposing off applications

1.

Supply of information in normal course

30 days

2.

Supply of information if it concerns the life or liberty of a person

48 hours

3.

Supply of information if the application is received through CAPIO

05 days shall be added to the time period indicated at Sr. NO.1 and 2.

4.

Supply of information if application / request is received after transfer from another public authority:

(a) In normal course

(a) Within 30 days of the receipt of the application by the concerned public Authority.

(b) In case the information concerns the life or liberty of a person.

(b) Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by the concerned public authority

5.

Supply of information if it relates to third party and the third party has treated it as confidential.

Should be provided after following the procedure given in Section 11 of the RTI Act.

6.

Supply of information where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee.

The period intervening between informing the applicant about additional fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for calculating the period of reply.

If a public authority fails to comply with the specified time limit, the information to the concerned applicant would have to be provided free of charge.

Appeals :
  • The appeal should be disposed off within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.

  • In exceptional cases, the Appellate Authority may take 45 days for its disposal for which reasons are recorded.