About Right to Information

When does it come into force?

Who is covered?
What does information mean?
What does Right to Information mean?


When does it come into force?

It comes 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).


Who is covered?
The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. [S.(12)]


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" [S.2(f)].


What does Right to Information mean?
It includes the right to -
  1. inspect works, documents, records.
  2. take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
  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 through printouts.[S.2(j)]

Officers and their obligations


What are the obligations of public authority?
What does a "public authority" mean?
Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?
What are the duties of a PIO?


1. What are the obligations of public authority?

It shall publish within one hundred and twenty days of the enactment:-

  1. the particulars of its organization, functions and duties;

  2. the powers and duties of its officers and employees;

  3. the procedure followed in its decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability;

  4. the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;

  5. the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records used by its employees for discharging its functions;

  6. a statement of the categories of the documents held by it or under its control;

  7. the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by the members of the public, in relation to the formulation of policy or implementation thereof;

  8. 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;

  9. a directory of its officers and employees;

  10. the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

  11. the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made;

  12. the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details and beneficiaries of such programmes;

  13. particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it;

  14. details of the information available to, or held by it, reduced in an electronic form;

  15. 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;

  16. the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers.[S.4(1)(b)]

2. 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;

  • by any other law made by Parliament;

  • by any other law made by State Legislature;

  • by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government.and includes any-

  1. body owned, controlled or substantially financed

  2. non-Government organization substantially financed  directly or indirectly by the appropriate Government.

3. 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.
4. What are the duties of a PIO?
  • 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 writing.
  • 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 applicant immediately.
  • 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 the request.
  • 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 Authority.
  • 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:
  1. that only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided;

  2. the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based;

  3. the name and designation of the person giving the decision;

  4. the details of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which the applicant is required to deposit; and

  5. 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 into consideration.

  • Third party must be given a chance to make a representation before the PIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of such notice.


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