COMPLAINT UNDER RTI ACT 2005
Section 18 of the act empowers Central Information Commission [CIC] and also State Information Commissions [SICs] to enquire into complaints against Public Authority, Public Information Officer [PIO] and First Appellate Authority [FAA]. The section has provided for enquiring and taking corrective steps by the respective commissions in respect of majority of problems that the applicant/appellant may face in getting information to which he is entitled to under this act.
Situations under which complaint can be lodged
- No PIO or APIO or FAA is appointed by public authority.
- PIO/APIO/FAA has refused to receive application/appeal.
- No reply is received from PIO & FAA within time limit fixed by the act.
- Reply received from PIO is unsatisfactory, irrelevant, unreadable, misleading, unclear, false, incomplete etc.
- Information has been wrongly and unjustifiably refused.
- When applicant is required to pay fee/charges in excess of those prescribed in RTI rules applicable.
- PIO/APIO is not accessible in person or by post and his whereabouts are not easily available/prominently exhibited.
- Proactive disclosure under section 4  has not been made or it is not made publicly available/accessible.
- PIO/FAA has wrongly refused inspection of records of public authority or reasonable cooperation is not extended during inspection.
- PIO, FAA or any other person directly/indirectly intimidates or ill-treats or pressurizes the applicant/appellant or restraints him from exercising his right under the act.
- PIO/FAA disobeys orders of CIC/SIC.
- Any other situation where the citizen has been wrongly restrained/refused access to information to which he is entitled under the act.
- Any other violation of provisions of the act by public authority, PIO or FAA.
How to lodge complaint
- Complaints relating to information of central government public authorities are to be lodged with Central Information Commission [CIC], August Kranti Bhavan, Bhikaji Kama Place,NEW DELHI 110066. [www.cic.gov.in]
- In case of information of public authorities of State Govts, complaints have to be lodged with respective State Information Commissions [SICs]. Details are available on official websites of State Govts. /State Information Commissions. Please visit http://www.rtiindia.org/guide/ OR www.rti.gov.in for statewise details.
- CIC and some of SICs have prescribed minimum information or papers that must be submitted with the complaint. Some SICs have prescribed format for complaint. For CIC and those SICs, which have not prescribed format, complainants can use guidelines and format as available at http://www.rtiindia.org/guide/how-to…l-under-rti-3/ with minor changes
- CIC does not charge any fee for complaints. Some SICs charge fees for this purpose. There is no time limit for lodging complaint, but it is advisable to lodge the same within reasonable time of happening of cause for complaint.
- Send copy of complaint to PIO/FAA simultaneous with CIC/SIC. At times PIO/FAA solves your problem before hearing at CIC/SIC. Ask for punishment to PIO/FAA under the act and also claim compensation for not getting the information in time.
- Information Commissions are vested with powers of Civil Courts in respect of summoning, enforcing attendance, giving evidence on oath, producing records, etc.
- Complaint is in addition to Second/final Appeal available to applicants.
- It is advisable to simultaneously approach head of the organization or govt. dept at capital-level [secretary/chief secretary] for his intervention. This may help get information.
- After lodging complaint, please check from concerned website if the same is registered and registration number and status.
- In case of information pertaining to life and liberty, the complaint should be conspicuously branded as “Life & Liberty-Urgent” so that priority is accorded for its disposal before it is too late. Follow-up through email is recommended if available with SIC.
- CIC/SICs are flooded with appeals/complaints and there is huge pendency. Thus it may take 12 to 36 months before complaint is heard. It is advisable to take free help from experienced RTI activists/NGO if locally available so that matter can be effectively and properly represented through complaint.