What is Second Appeal under RTI: Time Limit, Guidelines, Format

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Anybody who is unhappy or dissatisfied with the decision of the Appellate Authority can file Second Appeal to the Information Commission at the Centre or respective States. You need to send your appeal to the relevant Information Commission in writing.

For issues related to Central Government public authorities, you need to send your appeal to the Central Information Commission. For matters related to State Government public authorities, send your appeal to concerned State Information Commission. Appeals against Panchayats should also be sent to the relevant State Information Commission.

What is the Time Limit for Second Appeal?

A Second Appeal must be made within 90 days from the date on which the decision should have been made or from the date a decision was actually received. It is sometimes possible to submit Second Appeal after this 90 day period, provided that Information Commission allows it. If the commission is satisfied that you could not file the appeal in time because of some unavoidable reasons like you were travelling for work or something like that.

Now, when will the commission give decision?

There is no specified time limit for the Information Commission to decide on an appeal.

No time limit has yet been included in any of the Appeal Rules.

However, best practices support deadline of 30-45 days to dispose of any appeal just like it is for the Appellate Authorities.

What happens if Information Commission decides in my favour?

If Information Commission decides that your appeal was justified, they will give you their decision in writing. Powers of the Information Commission are:

(a) The Commission may order the responsible officer to do their duty under RTI Act and give you the access to the information you are looking for. The public authority might get orders to give the information in a different form or even your fees might be reduced;

(b) They can also give the order to the public authority to compensate you for any loss(mental, physical) you may have suffered in the process;

(c) They can impose penalties on PIO or any other official who failed to execute their duties under the RTI Act.

What happens if Information Commission rejects my appeal?

If the Information Commission decides that your case does not hold sufficient ground, it will reject your appeal. In either case, the Commission will give notice of its decision to you and the public authority -- both the involved parties

Guidelines to keep in mind before filing Second Appeal

You would have taken the decision to go for Second Appeal in either of the following cases -

You want third party information

Or atleast Appellate Authority is convinced of that. If the information has been rejected stating that the information relates to third party - the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission will give an opportunity to that third party to be heard. After listening to all sides, they will make the decision.

Your RTI was rejected

If the PIO decides that the requested information can be denied under an exemption, then your application will be rejected. In such cases, the Central RTI Act requires that you, the applicant, should receive a rejection letter as soon as possible-within 30 days of receipt of request.

The rejection notice should contain:
1. the reasons your application was rejected (ideally, they should mention the specific applicable exemption clause);
2. the period in which you can lodge an appeal; and 3. the details of the relevant "appellate authority".

These particulars should be provided so that you know your rights completely and are aware of the options you have for challenging the decisions, if you want to do that.

Don’t worry, the responsibility to prove that denying the requested information was justified will be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, who denied the request.

Your RTI was sent back with an option to resubmit

In some cases, your application may be sent back to you on the basis that it was not drafted or worded correctly. This might happen, for example, if you have worded your application too broadly and it is not clear what particular information you want read Importance of drafting or wording RTI correctly.

This is why it is important to make your request as precise as possible - if the person managing your application is not sure what information you want, they will waste time by coming back to you with further questions. In these kind of situations, you will be given the chance to rewrite your questions and submit it. If you do not re-submit your application after it has been sent back to you, then the relevant authority will not take it any further.

Partial disclosure

It is important to know that your application can be partially rejected. This might happen where some of the information in the documents you requested is sensitive and falls under an exemption. In such cases, the sensitive information should be removed or blacked out from the record, but the remainder of the information can be released to you.

The Central Act specifically permits partial disclosure. You should be aware of the possibility of "partial disclosure" and raise this with the PIO if you think that it could be done in your case. You should also remember this point during appeal.

Under the Central Act, if your application is only partially accepted, you must be sent a notice advising:

(i) that only part of the record is being disclosed

(ii) why the decision has been taken, it should include reasons for the decision

(iii) the name and designation of the public authority

(iv) details of fees and

(v) what is the process to review this decision.

Final Decision

The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, will be final and binding.

Format for filing Second Appeal at Central Information Commission are -

What is Second Appeal under RTI: Time Limit, Guidelines, Format

Fill in second appeal form, along with the following:

• Original RTI application with its attachments

• Copy of First appeal with supporting details

• Receipt of payment of fee using along with proof of additional charges, if any

• Proof of posting original RTI application and first appeal

• Decisions of Central Public Information Officer and First Appellate Authority if received

Mail these at the following address:

The Registrar, CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
II floor, August Kranti Bhavan,
Bhikaji Kama Place ,
NEW DELHI 110066

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