RTI Information: What information can be given under RTI?

RTI Information - What information can be given under RTI

Many of us think that we can ask everything from government under Right to Information Act, 2005, but that is not correct. RTI Act, 2005 clearly defines “information”, and puts some limitation on the type of information we can ask. Thus, it is important to understand what is RTI Information? What information can be given under RTI?

RTI Information: definition of “Information” and “Right to Information” under RTI Act:

Definition of “Information” under RTI Act: As per Section 2(f), “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;

Definition of “Record” under RTI Act: As per Section 2(i), “record” includes—

(a) any document, manuscript and file;

(b) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;

(c) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and

(d) any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

Definition of “Right to Information” under RTI Act: As per Section 2(j), right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to-
i) inspection of work, documents, records;
(ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) taking certified samples of material;
(iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;

Section 3: Right to Information: Subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have the right to information.

Thus, it is clear from section 3 of the RTI Act that citizen can not get every information but only those information that are in line with the provisions of the RTI Act.

RTI Information: Observation of Supreme Court on definition of “Information” and “Right to Information”:

Honorable Supreme Court took opportunity to interpret what is RTI Information? What information can be given under RTI?

Honorable Supreme Court on Right to Information Act, 2005 in Civil Appeal No.6454 of 2011, arising out of SLP[C] No.7526/2009 in the case of Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr. Vs Ajitya Bandopadhyay & Ors clarified coverage of information with following observation:

“At this juncture, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about the RTI Act. The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. This is clear from a combined reading of section 3 and the definitions of `information’ and `right to information’ under clauses (f) and (j) of section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analyzed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such non- available information and then furnish it to an applicant. A public authority is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inferences and/or making of assumptions. It is also not required to provide `advice’ or `opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any `opinion’ or `advice’ to an applicant. The reference to `opinion’ or `advice’ in the definition of `information’ in section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.”

Accordingly, you can get all information, except information pertaining to section 8 & 9 of the RTI Act, from government that is available and existing. I will clarify this further with examples:

You can ask government to provide following information:

  • What is status of your Passport Application? What action has been taken on your application till date?
  • What is the status of your Income Tax Refund?
  • Certified copies of your Answer Sheet?
  • Expenditures in any government project?
  • Status and actions taken on your complaints submitted in government office, etc.

These documents are available with government. Thus, you have right to get these information.

But you can’t ask government to provide information which requires drawing of inferences and/or making of assumptions. For example:

  • What will be government actions if some tragedy happens ( if it has been not been documented)?
  • What will be government steps for empowering women after 5 years (if it has been not been documented)?

Such information requires making assumptions, and PIO is not bound to provide information that requires making assumptions.

The above mentioned provisions of RTI Act, and observations of Supreme Court clearly outline what is RTI Information? What information can be given under RTI? If you still have doubts whether information required by you can be sought under RTI Act or not, you can ask through comment box.

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  • Rajesh

    Hy sir,
    Can I get hard copy/soft copy of previous year Competitive exams question papers like SSC, GATE, TANCET through RTI?

    If so, is there any limit for the volume of information?

    I meant that may I ask for the last 10-year question papers of any competitive exams?

  • Gowtham A

    Shall I get information under RTI regarding government property around my home in grama Panchayat locality ?

  • Shekhar

    If anybody ask others school bonafide certificate . shall we give or not please claryfy it

  • Ashok Agarwal

    Can we get information regarding transfers & posting in any departement for other person?

  • shilpa

    hi…i wanted to know that can a person seek information of a goverment employee…from how many years is he working in present office with date,and wont that be a personal information.

  • haziel

    hi can i get information about engineering degree details of a person through RTI

  • Inder Jeet

    Can Govt.employee take information under RTI Act from his own office

  • JBS

    can certified copy of interim or final order can be obtained from high court or supreme court or lower court.

  • mahavir nath goswami

    Can we ask for land records like who is the legal owner of any particular land or whether it has been sold or not through rti?

  • Suresh

    Sir, What are the qualifications for PIO & APIO? Who can be a PIO & APIO? Whether any seniority/heirarchy is exist for appoint ment of PIO & APIO of an office?

  • menaka

    can information regarding the marks given to candidates in an interview fr recruitment be asked from any university ?

  • vijay datar

    Hi..plz let me know if i can get the information about in any govenment offices how many rti applications under section19(1) are receved and copies of Rti applications from 2016 to 2017..

    • Hi Vijay ,
      RTI Applications are filed under section 6(1) of the RTI Act, not under 19(1). Under section 19(1), First Appeals are submitted before First Appellate Authority. Now, coming to your question, you can ask information about number of RTI Applications received and copies of RTI Applications in any government office. In fact, as per CIC’s ruling, every government organization is supposed to publish all RTI Applications and replies to their websites. However, they are not doing so.
      But, I would like to suggest you that you ask such information only if you really need because these are voluminous information. Replying to RTI Applications are additional job to the PIO. They are not paid for that. So, it is our responsibility to keep them motivated by asking required information. If you really require that, you must ask. PIO is bound to reply because such information are not exempted under section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act.
      All the Best!!!

  • Suresh

    whether the financial position(ie. balance available in each back a/c, FD amount etc) of a Company can be provided on RTI Application?

    • Hi Suresh,
      YES. Financial position of any publically traded company must be available to the public. I belive, company must be providing these information in its annual reports. You should provide such information under RTI.

  • Suresh

    I am a Asst. Public Information Officer. Whether I am liable for providing reply to RTI Application? If the PIO is on leave, what should do the APIO?

    • Hi Suresh,
      If you are an APIO, you are not liable to provide information to the Applicant. The role of APIO is to only forward the application to the PIO. If PIO is on leave, it is his duty to make suitable arrangement. APIO is only responsible for forwarding the application. If PIO is not there, you may just send/submit the applications to the office of PIO. After that, your job will be completed.

  • M.V.Apparent Rao

    I am a teacher. I have been asked to furnish my Aadhar no., my qualifications, my children’s education details up to 10th class and their Aadhar nos. Shall I give?

    • Hi Venkata Sir,
      If your school/college is asking these details for record purpose, then you can give. However, if your school is asking for the purpose to giving to someone else, then please don’t because these are your personal information, which are exempted from disclosure under RTI.

  • Beningston A Sangma

    I’m one the teacher trainee under Nios deled it’s been almost 9 months my result reflected absent in 508 theory,should i go ahead with Rti?

  • Vijay Shrirao

    In rti application can we take information about OBC NC and to which department it should be written?

  • Vijay Shrirao

    In rti application can we take information about OBC NC

  • Salman

    Hi There,

    There is an employee in our organization who was suspended on the charges of corruption. Since, he knows every in and out of the organization, he is submitting dozens of RTI applications every month seeking information from every seat, section and every wing.
    He has been asking information with the intention of causing trouble to the existing employees. He has submitted nearly 100 RTI applications in a span of one year. He also knows which information we cannot provide within stipulated time. The information which he is seeking is not for use of general public, it is for his own interest.
    I want to know,
    1) is he correct in asking such information under RTI Act?
    2) how many applications an applicant can submit under RTI Act in a month or how long an applicant can keep on seeking application under RTI Act?
    3) whether any suspended employee can seek information from its own organization under RTI Act?

    Please guide on the above matter along with Section Numbers.

    Many Thanks.

    • 1) is he correct in asking such information under RTI Act?
      Reply: There is nothing wrong in seeking any information till it is covered under section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act.
      2) how many applications an applicant can submit under RTI Act in a month or how long an applicant can keep on seeking application under RTI Act?
      Reply: RTI Act doesn’t limit number of applications. Citizen can file any number of application. However, there is limit on volume of information sought in a single application. Citizen can’t ask huge information in a single application.
      3) whether any suspended employee can seek information from its own organization under RTI Act?
      Reply: RTI Act, 2005 provides right of information to every citizen. It doesn’t matter whether he is suspended employee or any normal public. He can seek information. But, the volume of information should be reasonable. It should not be huge information that will disproportionately divert the resources of public authority.

      If you have justification for delayed response, there is no problem. You may take more time than 30 days.
      If citizen is asking same information again and again, you may deny information by advising him that he should not file more than one RTI application seeking same information.

      If you need further information, please reply here.

  • r s pande

    can information of rd account of school children be given under rti act2005

  • Prashant Pathak

    Hi please let me know if I can get the information about pending family pension

    • YES..
      You can get information about pending family pension, because the pension department is a public authority and comes under purview of RTI Act, 2005. To get the information, submit RTI Application before concerned pension department.

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