How to File an RTI in India Offline: Step by Step Procedure
Right to Information is a cherished right. As per section 6(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, any citizen who wants information from Public Authority can submit request for information to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, (hereinafter referred as PIO) within that public authority. Citizens can file RTI Application Online as well as Offline. In this article, I will explain you How to File an RTI in India Offline. You can know the step by step procedure to file RTI Application online by visiting How to File an RTI Application Online ?
Now let me explain how to file an RTI in India offline. You can file RTI Application in various ways explained below:
Ways to file an RTI Application in India Offline:
This is important point in knowing How to File an RTI in India Offline. You can submit request for information to the PIO in three ways:
- ‘directly to the PIO’,
- ‘to the PIO through APIO’, and
- ‘to the PIO through other Public Authority’.
Let me explain each ways for more clarity and understanding:
1. Directly to the PIO: You can submit RTI Application directly to the PIO either by hand or through Post Office.
i). Directly to the PIO by Hand: If Office of the PIO is near to your location, you can go the office of PIO and submit RTI Application to the PIO personally. In this case, you can pay Fees for RTI by Cash. At the time of submitting application to the PIO, don’t forget to take acknowledgement of submission from PIO. Best way to take acknowledgement is to take copy of your application and ask PIO to sign with date on copy. In this way, you will have copy of application as well as acknowledgement in single paper.
ii). Directly to the PIO through Post Office: If Office of PIO is not near to your location, or you are unable to go to Office of PIO, then send your RTI Application to PIO through Registered/Speed Post. Never send your application through Courier. Before dispatching application, take copy of your Application for reference. After dispatching, take the acknowledgement receipt from post office. Track online the delivery status of your Registered/Speed Post after one week of dispatch. If your application is delivered, take the screenshot of delivery status and print it. Keep the copy of RTI Application, along with delivery status for your reference.
2. To the PIO through APIO: You can also send your RTI Application to PIO through APIO. In this case, you can submit your RTI Application to the APIO either by hand or through post office. The APIO shall forward your Application forthwith to the PIO. Office of APIO has been created only to facilitate receiving of RTI Application or Appeals or Complaint at local level. The only responsibility APIO has is to forward you application to concerned PIO or First Appellate Authority or CIC or SIC.
Submitting RTI Application through APIO is good only when:
i) you don’t know the Address of the PIO, but know the address of APIO, or
ii) Office of APIO is in your city and you can submit application to the APIO by hand, but office of the PIO in different city (because you can save money in Registered/Speed Post).
This is because if you need to submit RTI Application directly to the PIO or to the PIO through APIO through Post Office only, then submitting your Application through APIO will unnecessarily add 5 days of delay in getting information.
3. To the PIO through other Public Authority: This way of filing RTI Application should be reluctantly used. You should use this way only when you are unable to file RTI Applications directly to the PIO or to the PIO through APIO due to unavailablity of details of either concerned PIO or APIO. What you need to do is to simply send your RTI Application to any Public Authority. PIO of that Public Authority will forward your RTI Application under section 6(3) of the RTI Act to the PIO of the concerned Public Authority within 5 days of receiving your application. You should avoid this way of filing RTI Application because this trouble the PIO of unconcerned Public Authority as well as add additional delay of around 12 days ( 5 days for PIO to forward your application under section 6(3) + postal delays of 2-7 days in reaching application from receiving PIO to the concerned PIO) in getting reply to your RTI Application.
By this time, you have understood first step in knowing How to File an RTI in India Offline.
How to File an RTI in India Offline: Step by Step Procedure
To know How to File an RTI in India Offline, please follow below steps:
1. Finalize exactly what information do you want.
2. Find whether information required by you belong to Central Public Authority or State Public Authority.
3. Find Name and/or Address of Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or State Public Information Officer (SPIO), as the case may be, depending on whether information belong to Central Public Authority or State Public authority respectively.
4. Draft RTI Application (Sample RTI Application Form). You can write Application either electronically (through computer) or on a blank paper. There is no specific rules on this under RTI Act. Sample RTI Application attached is only for reference. You can draft RTI Application in your own way. Try to write your application in clear and concise way because many times PIO reject request for information by simply telling that information sought is not clear and understandable.
5. Pay Fees of Rs. 10/- through Indian Postal Order (IPO)/ Demand Draft/ Banker’s Cheque/ Court Fees/ Cash (If submitting Application by hand). You can buy IPO from Post Office. If you are unable to get IPO from Post Office, buy e-IPO online. Don’t be confused Banker’s Cheque with Cheque. Both are different thing. If you do not know how to get IPO online, click below link to know the step by step procedure to get IPO online:
To know the difference between banker’s cheque and cheque (personal), click below link:
6. Submit RTI Application along with Fees to the PIO in any of the ways mentioned above.
7. Keep copy of your Application and Payment slip for reference.
8. If you submit application by hand, never forget to take acknowledgement from PIO because you need proof for submission. If you submit application to PIO through Post Office, then do following steps:
i) Keep postal receipt that you receive from post office after dispatching your RTI Application.
ii) Online track delivery status of Registered/ Speed Post after one week of dispatch at following link:
iii) Take Screenshot/Print Out of the delivery Status, if it has been delivered, as a proof of on what date PIO received your Application.
9. Wait for Reply/Information from the PIO. To know the time limit within which PIO shall reply, you may visit How to calculate time limit to get information under RTI.
The above procedure details you about How to File an RTI in India Offline. You can understand complete RTI Act through Flow Chart at Understand RTI Act, 2005 through Flow Chart.
What to do if you did not receive reply from the PIO within specified time, or you received reply from PIO but are not satisfied with the reply? You may submit First Appeal before First Appellate Authority under section 19(1) of the RTI Act.
To know the step by step procedure to submit First Appeal, you may visit How to File First Appeal under RTI.