First Appeal under RTI: How to File First Appeal under RTI Act?

First Appeal under RTI - How to File First Appeal under RTI ActIn any legal system, Appeal procedure is recognized as very important tool in the hand of aggrieved applicant. Same has been recognized and incorporated under section 19 of the RTI Act. Section 19 of the RTI Act provides two types of appeal procedure. Section 19(1) and section 19(2) provide for First Appeal against the order of the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or a State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, (hereinafter referred as PIO). Section 19(3) of the RTI Act provides for the Second Appeal before Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, against the decision of First Appellate Authority on First Appeal under section 19(1) or 19(2). In this article, I will explain First Appeal under RTI: How to File First Appeal under RTI Act?

Who can file First Appeal under RTI?

Both section 19(1) and section 19(2) of the RTI Act provide for the First Appeal against the order of the PIO. One provides right of appeal to the Applicant, while other to the Third Party (section 2(n) defines “third party” as ‘a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority’).

First Appeal by the Applicant (citizen who filed RTI Application): Any person, who does not receive decision of PIO within the time limit specified under section 7(1) or section 7(3)(a) of the RTI Act, or is aggrieved at the decision of the PIO can submit First Appeal under section 19(1) of the RTI Act.

First Appeal by Third Party: A third party, under section 11, against whose wish PIO made decision to disclose information pertaining to third party and considered confidential by the third party, to the applicant, can submit First Appeal under section 19(2) of the RTI Act.

When to file First Appeal under RTI: (Time limits to file First Appeal)

Under Section 19(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, a citizen who either has not received reply from PIO within time period specified under section 7(1) of the RTI Act, explained above, or is aggrieved at the reply of PIO may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the PIO in each public authority.

To understand time timits to submit First Appeal under section 19(1) or 19(2), you may visit Time limits for filing First Appeal.

By now, you understood what is First Appeal under RTI. Now, let me explain how to file First Appeal under RTI Act, 2005.

How to File First Appeal under RTI Act:

Citizen can submit First Appeal Online as well as Offline. But, facility to file First Appeal is very limited: You can submit First Appeal online only when you filed your RTI Application online. You can’t submit First Appeal online against those RTI Applications that you filed Offline or in case you filed your RTI Application online but your application was physically forwarded to the other Public Authority under section 6(3) of the RTI Act.

To know step by step procedure to submit First Appeal Online, you may visit How to File First Appeal Online (coming soon). To know how to file First Appeal offline, follow the procedure explained below.

First Appeal under RTI: How to File First Appeal under RTI Act offline?

Step-I: Find details of First Appellate Authority:

As per section 7(8) as well as various decisions of Information Commission, PIO must provide the details of First Appellate Authority in every reply to the RTI Application. Thus, if you have received Reply from PIO, then take the details of First Appellate Authority from RTI Reply. But, in case PIO didn’t provide the details of First Appellate Authority in the reply, or PIO didn’t reply within the specified time limit, you can get the details of First Appellate Authority in following ways:

i) Get the details of First Appellate Authority from the Website of the Public Authority.

ii) Ask the details of First Appellate Authority from office of the PIO through phone call or e-mail.

iii) If office of the PIO is near to your house, you can visit there to get details of First Appellate Authority.

iv) As per section 5(2), Public Authority shall appoint Central Assistant Public Information Officer(CAPIO) or a State Assistant Public Information Officer(SAPIO), as the case may be, at each sub-divisional level or other sub-district level, to receive the applications for information or appeals under this Act for forwarding the same forthwith to the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or senior officer specified under sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be.

Accordingly, if you don’t get the details of First Appellate Authority, you can submit your First Appeal before CAPIO or SAPIO, as the case may be, who shall forward your First Appeal to the First Appellate Authority forthwith.

v) You can send First Appeal to the office of PIO by addressing First Appeal as “The First Appellate Authority under RTI Act, 2005″. PIO shall forward you First Appeal to the First Appellate Authority.

Step-2: Check the Appeal Procedures of respective Public Authority (Central or State):

There is no uniform or common Appeal Procedures, that contain Fees detail and Format for filing Appeal, among all Central Public Authorities and State Public Authorities. For example, there is no fee and specific format for filing First Appeal before Central Public Authorities. However, few States’ Appeal Procedures prescribe Fee and Format for filing First Appeals. Thus, before you draft First Appeal before State Public Authorities, go through Appeal Procedures of respective State for First Appeal Fee, and Format of Appeal (if any).

Step-3: Write First Appeal:

Under this section, Appellant must clearly indicate the decision required to be given by First Appellate Authority. Because it is well settled principle of law that Applicant or Appellant should be provided only what he has asked. Thus, if you will not mention clearly whatever you want, First Appellate Authority may not provide you. Some of the prayers that you may include is as follows:

  • If you are filing Appeal after expiry of the specified time limit to file appeal, then pray to condone the delay in filing appeal;
  • direct the PIO to provide certified copies of complete and correct information within 10 days from the date of decision of the First Appellate Authority on appeal;
  • direct the PIO to supply information free of cost, since PIO failed to supply information within specified time limit under section 7(1) of the RTI Act;
  • record and supply reasons for upholding the decision of PIO and rejecting the prayers of the appellant etc.

5) Personal Hearing:

In this section, you should write your preference for attending Personal Hearing during disposal of appeal by first appellate authority. First Appellate Authority is bound to grant personal hearing to Appellant in compliance of principles of natural justice. But, Appellant is not bound to attend personal hearing. Appellant may authorize any other person to attend hearing on his behalf. Attending personal hearing is always beneficial to the appellant, because appellant gets opportunity to present his case and maximize chances of getting decision of First Appellate Authority in his favor.

Under this section you may quote the decision of Hon’ble Central Information Commission with regard to providing opportunity of hearing to appellant:

In the matter of Mr. R. K. Jain vs. Department of Legal Affairs, Government of India registered under File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000254, Hon’ble Central Information Commission has made following observations: “14. The Commission observes: Passing orders in first appeal without hearing or sending hearing notice is illegal and will render the order invalid. The Commission sets aside the order of First Appellate Authority for violating RTI Act and breach of natural justice by denying the appellant a chance of presenting his case and by raising entirely a new defence which was never claimed. Commission finds it deserves action though the concerned officer retired from service and recommends Public Authority to initiate disciplinary action against the concerned FAO for acting totallyagainst the RTI Act in this case.”

6) Particulars of the Appellant:

 

(Signature of Applicant)

Name : ……………………………………,

Address: …………………………,

              …………………………,

              …………………………,

E-mail: ……………………………………,

Contact No.: ……………………………,

NOTE: If you submit more than one First Appeal before same Appellate Authority on same day, then in order to distinguish response of First Appellate Authority on each of them please ensure to put different date on each of First Appeals.

Step-IV: Enclose self attested copies of following documents along with First Appeal:

  • Copy of RTI Application
  • Copy of Reply from PIO (if received)
  • Copy of proof of filing RTI Application (Online tracking of delivery status of RTI Application to PIO/ Acknowledgment from PIO) (If PIO didn’t reply)
  • Any other documents supporting your grounds and pleading in appeal

Step-V: Submit your First Appeal along with attachments to the First Appellate Authority either personally (if office of the Appellate Authority is near to your location) or by Registered Post with Acknowledgement Due/ Speed Post. Never submit First Appeal through private courier services.

NOTE: Before submitting First Appeal, take copy of First Appeal along with all attachment for reference.

i) If you submit First Appeal by hand, never forget to take acknowledgment from Appellate Authority because you need proof for submission.

ii) If you submit First Appeal through Post Office, then do following:

a) Keep postal receipt that you receive from post office after dispatching First Appeal.

b) Online track delivery status of Registered Post/ 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 Appellate Authority received your First Appeal.

Step-VI: Wait for Reply/decision from the Appellate Authority. To know the time limits within which First Appellate Authority shall give her decision, visit Time Limit for disposal of First Appeal.

The above step by step procedure clearly provides how to file First Appeal under RTI Act offline. If you have any doubt on how to file First Appeal under RTI Act offline, you may ask through comment box.

What to do if you did not receive reply from the Appellate Authority within specified time, or you received reply from Appellate Authority but are not satisfied with the reply?

Submit Second Appeal under section 19(3) and/or Complaint under section 18 before Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, within specified time limits.

To know the step by step procedure to submit Second Appeal under Section 19(3) click link below How to submit Second Appeal under section 19(3) of the RTI Act.

To know the step by step procedure to submit Complaint under Section 18, you may visit How to submit Complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act.

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32 comments

  • ganesh shankar koli

    i want information in marathi .

  • Mithil Agrawal

    Sir, I applied the name change application of PAN CARD in TIN-NSDL Pune. around three month has been over and I have sent all the require documents three time by Registry post and many time by email. but still no proper action has been taken. so should I file the RTI on TIN_NSDL egov ltd.

  • M.K

    Sir, Can we submit ” Appeal / Complaint ” directly to the CIC to take action. What is the fee for this “Appeal / Complaint”.

    • Hi,
      You can lodge complaint under section 18 before CIC without filing RTI Application/First Appeal. Through complaint, you can only penalize PIO, but can’t get information. Through Second Appeal you can get information as well as can penalize PIO. However, you can’t file Second Appeal without filing RTI Application/First Appeal. There is no fees for Complaint/Second Appeal before CIC.
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  • Girija

    Hiiii,
    I have applied a RTI application on 28feb 2017 and want to know about the limit for the PIO to reply to me. When I also able to file a FAA..??

  • Arindam Chakraborty

    Sir,
    I filed an RTI online. As I did not receive any reply within 30 days, (expired on 4th March 2017). I had filed 1st Appeal on 6th March 2017. Then on 10th March I had received the reply online through Govt. of India Portal. However, my 1st Appeal seeking action against PIO for taking more than 30 days to reply is still pending.

    Now as I am not satisfied with the reply, I intend to submit 1st Appeal against the reply received on 10th however, whenever I am trying to submit online, it shows that “You have already filed a first appeal” and thus unable to submit first appeal as intended.
    kindly advise, is there any other way to submit online.

    • Hello Arindam Ji,
      Same case happened when I was new to RTI few years back. I always advice to wait at least 1 week before submitting First Appeal because many a time PIO prefer to send reply through post office rather than uploading the scanned copy of reply.
      Anyways, there is no way to re-file First Appeal online once you exausted your first appeal online. However, you may send First Appeal through Post Office. In your appeal, you may mention your online first appeal reference number, and request First Appellate Authority to combine your present appeal with online appeal, and don’t consider as seperate. If you can send it before First Appellate Authority gives his decision on your online first appeal, then FAA may consider your case. Kindly, do so at the earliest.
      Hope this helps.
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  • A. Chakraborty

    Recently I had sought information under RTI from a Public Sector Undertaking Organisation.. The information was related to transfer of an Officer. I had asked the provision under which She was transferred at own expense when she had not applied for it. Even I had asked if she had applied for transfer at own expense , her application date.
    Secondly I had tried to get information about another transfer where the Officer was transferred on Public Interest with Full TA/DA.
    However, the PIO replied ” NOT APPLICABLE “.
    Similarly, he tried to avoid answering another Information related to a representation made by 1st officer, when she had prayed for reconsideration of her transfer at public interest instead of own expense, The information sought was
    ” Whether any representation was made by Ms/Mr ……. and on which date it was received at CHQ….”
    The reply by the PIO was
    “This type of question doesnot come under purview of RTI”
    It seems in this case the as incidentally the PIO himself is the decision making authority regarding transfers, he is uncomfortable providing the information.
    I prefer to make a First Appeal. Kindly advise.

    • Hi Chakraborty,
      Your questions are quite valid, and do come under purview of RTI Act. The concerned PIO must be involved in such illegal transfer. If someone has not requested for transfer, he/she can never be transfered on his/her own expenses. He/she must be paid all benefits of official transfer.
      To know the procedure to file first appeal, please visit How to File First Appeal.

      • Arindam Chakraborty

        Thanks@ Mr Sanjeet Kumar

        • You are most welcome Arindam.

          • A. Chakraborty

            I had asked the following in my RTI application :
            1) to provide me the date on which a particular representation was received at an office.
            2) to provide me the date on which it was further sent to the next authority or disposed off by sending a suitable reply to the applicant.
            3) to provide me the names of officers along with their designation those were handling the case
            4) whether the applicant was informed about the decision taken by the competent authority on his/her application/representation, if yes the letter no. and date.

            Now the PIO takes plea of Memo No. 11/2/2008-IR dated 10/7/2008 and preferred to state that ” we are to provide you information in the form, available in record, please refer office memo. no. 11/2/2008-IR dated 10/7/2008 issued by Govt. of India”

            I have gone through the above Memo and understand that ” the PIO is not expected to deduce conclusion on the material/document available”

            but one can expect the information which is definitely on record, as the application was addressed to some organisational head and was either received at his/her office with proper entry in Diary/Dispatch section.

            I understand as the PIO himself is involved in this particular case (as stated in my earlier post) , thus trying to take different plea not to provide the information.

            I prefer to go for 1st Appeal.

            Kindly provide your valuable guidance & views @ Mr. Sanjeet

          • Hello Mr. Chakraborty,
            You are right. Your queries are very simple and must be provided by the PIO. He has denied information with ulterior motive. The memos refered by him is not applicable to your case. You must go ahead with First Appeal. In your appeal, you request for personal hearing and attend hearing before First Appellate Authority. Such PIO must be punished for such misleading reply.

          • Arindam Chakraborty

            Thanks.
            Let me see, may not be possible for me to attend for personal hearing as I am posted at Durgapur and hearing shall be at Delhi . Still would like to go for 1st Appeal.

            Regards

          • Hello Mr. Chakraborty,
            You are most welcome. All the best!!

  • Nava Kumar Deka

    The SPIO furnish me information collecting from the Assistant PIO which department is related but it is tempated by the erring officer and furnish false information by the concern department which my information is related.

  • ashokraj

    am ashokraj belongs to puducherry union teritory , recently i asked information under rti to hri, total 16 question . they replied only 3 answers and said according to rti only one answer should be given .this same answers given to remaining question. is there any word limit ?

    • Hi Ashok,
      As per the RTI Act, 2005, there is no limit on number of questions or words. However, few decisions of Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts have said that we should ask only reasonable amount of information in one application. It is not that number of questions to be limited, but amount of information sought should be limited. I mean, if the answers to questions are very small, then many question can be asked. Thus, it is very subjective question. I suggest you to file First Appeal before First Appellate Authority. Simultanuously, file fresh RTI Applications for other queries by keeping 3-5 questions per application.

  • Manikrao

    Thanks it’s really good and useful

  • RAJUANAND

    Thank you.very useful Article

    helpful for citizens.. RAJUANAND.

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