The Right to Information Act 2005 empowers the citizens of India to seek any kind of information from the authorities operated by the government. Whether it is delay in passports or getting your IT refund or pension being cleared. Or even the information regarding funding of a government project... each citizen of India can demand information from the government.
Now, in case you have already filed an RTI request with the PIO of the relevant department following all the rules etc. but still not received an appropriate response. Then what do you do?
You might approach an RTI Commissioner under specific circumstances. Read further to know more about the role of RTI Commissioner and when to approach him.
Role of an RTI Commissioner
In order to provide a backbone to the RTI 2005, the Central Information Commission has been set up. This Governmental body helps individuals who are facing difficulties in submitting an RTI Application to the Central Public Information Officer . The State Information Commission is a similar body which fulfills the same responsibility for the different states, and ensures that the State Public Information Officer responds to the query.
Reasons for this could be either one of the PIOs have not yet been appointed or if one of the above mentioned officers refuses to accept the application of an individual. Also, the Information Commissions intervene if the applicant has not received their answers within the specified time limits or if the applicant feels that the information provided is false or incomplete.
If a citizen faces any such problems, he/she can approach the RTI Commissioner as a recourse. Thus, the Information Commissions are there for the citizens if they face difficulties in filing an RTI Application.
The entire Central Information Commission comprises of one Chief Central Information Commissioner and not more than 10 information commissioners. These commissioners are also called RTI Commissioners. The President of India appoints all these commissioners and their duty is to help the citizens who face difficulties in filing an RTI due to the reasons mentioned above.
Importance of an RTI Commissioner
RTI 2005 has been successfully implemented due to the RTI Commissioners who are there as the support system of those individuals whose applications have not been accepted. If there were no RTI Commissioners, people would be helpless if an information officer refused to accept their application. Thus, to empower the citizens and ensure that the RTI is successfully implemented, the Information Commissions were formed.
When to Approach an RTI Commissioner
RTI 2005 extends to every state of India except for the states of Jammu and Kashmir. However, every state has different policies and the policy of one state might not be the same as the policy of another. There are different types of RTIs; some concern the state whereas others concern the entire nation. If your RTI Application is a concern for your own state and no reply has been generated from the authorities to whom your application was addressed, a first appeal can be submitted to the authority.
If no response is generated even after filing the first appeal, you can approach the State Information Commission. If the State Information Commission too, fails to respond to your application, the matter must be taken to the State High Court and NOT the RTI Commissioner.
If however, your RTI Application concerns the departments of the central government, and you fail to get a reply for your application,** you might approach the RTI Commissioner.
Let’s assume you need to know about a central government scheme implemented for the benefits of a certain section of the society. To seek such information, you will have to file an RTI with that particular department of central government. Now if the PIO doesn’t respond or your RTI is rejected even when your RTI query was as per the norms and guidelines; you can file a first appeal. If that too doesn’t yield any result - you can approach the RTI commissioner.
We hope we have succeeded in clearing your doubts and explaining the role of an RTI Commissioner. Incase of any queries or doubts, feel free to leave comments below or discuss the same on our forum.
Also if you want to avoid all the hassles associated with the filing of an RTI, you can file the request through our platform and we will do the rest for you. Click Here to apply for an RTI now.