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Right to information and consumer protection act

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Right to information and consumer protection act

  1. 1. Working on RTI?
  2. 2. What is Information?  Information is any material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mail, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force.  A citizen has a right to seek such information form a public authority with is held by the public authority or witch is held under its control and even private organisations to some extent.  This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of document or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority.
  3. 3. Cont.  A citizen has a right to obtain to an information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print-outs provided such information is already stored in a computer or in any other device from which the information may be transferred to diskettes etc.
  4. 4. Cont.  The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of India. It does not make provision for giving information to corporation, Associations, Companies etc. which are legal entities/persons, but not citizens.  However, if an application is made by an employee or office - bearer of any Corporation, Association, Company, NGO etc. indicating his name and such employee/office bearer is a citizen of India, information may be supplied to him/her. In such cases, it would be presumed that a citizen has sought information at the address of the Corporation etc.
  5. 5. RTI before Private companies  Applicants have every right to seek information on a private company even though it is in the private sector, if it reports to a government body or owned partially/considerably by government body.
  6. 6. NRI can also file an RTI  Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005 enables NRIs and PIOs to have access to information imperative for them.  The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs defines RTI rights for NRIs and PIOs.  As one of their basic rights, NRIs and PIOs can contact the PGE (Protector General of Emigrants) in case of any grievance or query. The PGE can also be contacted online at indianemigration@nic.in.  The Department of Post has launched electronic version of Indian Postal Order- - eIPO -- which will help NRIs to pay fee online for seeking information under the RTI Act.
  7. 7. Requirements at the time of filing RTI  An applicant, along with his application, is required to pay a sum of Rs. 10/- as application fee in case or by way of a demand draft or a banker‟s cheque or an Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority.  The applicant may also have to pay additional fee, as prescribed by the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 for supply of information as gives below:  rupees two (Rs.2/-) for each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;  actual charge or cost price of a copy in Larger size paper;  actual cost or price for samples or models;  for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of rupee five (Rs. 5/-) for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof);  for information provided in diskette or floppy rupees fifty (Rs. 50/-) per diskette of floppy; and  for information provided in printed from at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two par page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.
  8. 8. Content and format of Application  Write your queries in the form of a numbered list so that the PIO can provide information in the same sequence. (This numbering should be ideally maintained at all levels including first appeal, second appeal, complaints, etc.)  You may write as many paras or sub-paras as you want in a single application.  There is no limit to the amount of information you may seek in a single application.  The initial fee payable will remain the same.  Each point/para should deal with just one piece of information or work or record. You may write sub-paras or sub-points.  Focus on the need for information and ask for it in a courteous manner.
  9. 9. Cont.  Focus sharply on the purpose of seeking information in the first place.  Frame your queries in a way that it will make it impossible for the public authority to wriggle out.
  10. 10. Time frame for disposing off application Situation Time limit for disposing off applications Supply of information in normal course 30 days Supply of information if it concerns the life or liberty of a person 48 days Supply of information if the application is received through CAPIO. 05 DAYS SHALL BE ADDED TO THE TIME PERIOD INDICATED AT Sr. No. 1 and 2. Supply of information if application/request is received after transfer from another public authority: 1. In normal course 2. In case the information concerns the life or liberty of a person. 1. Within 30 days of the receipt of the concerned public authority. 2. Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by the concerned public authority. Supply of information by organizations specified in the Second Schedule: 1. If information relates to allegations of violation of human right. 2. In case information relates to allegations of corruption. 1. 45 days from the receipt of application. 2. Within 30 days of the receipt of application. Supply of information if it relates to third party and the third party has treated it as confidential. Should be provided after following the procedure given in para 32 to 36 of these guidelines. Supply of information where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee. The period intervening between information the applicant about additional fee and the payment of fee by the applicant foe calculating the period of reply.
  11. 11. Anonymous Application  If you want to seek information that may adversely affect vested interests or may cause you financial or physical injury, you should request your distant relative or a friend or an RTI activist from another state to file the RTI application desired by you. Send him completed application form in his name and address and give him directions on how to pay the fee and submit the application.
  12. 12. Recent developments  The government has put a word limit of 500 words for filing an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.  Earlier, there was no word limit in seeking information.  However, the rules said that “no application shall be rejected on the ground that it contains more than five hundred words”.  According to a notification by the Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, an applicant will have to pay additional postal charges “involved in supply of information that exceeds fifty rupees”.
  13. 13. Whether one can approach consumer forum after filing RTI?  It is important to understand whether the citizen who is filing an application under the RTI Act can be considered as a consumer or not.  If yes, can the failure to furnish information under RTI be considered as „deficiency in service‟ for which a citizen can approach a Consumer forum is the moot question.
  14. 14. Cont.  In the case of Dr. S P Thirumala Rao vs. Municipal Commissioner, Mysore City Municipal Corporation, the National Commission held that “When a citizen seeks information through an application under the RTI Act and pays the prescribed fee, he becomes a „consumer‟ as per the CPA who has sought certain „service‟. The person designated as the Public Information Officer (PIO) under the RTI Act is held as the service provider. If the PIO fails to provide the requested information within the prescribed period of 30 days u/s 7(1) of RTI Act 2005, it is deemed to be a „deficiency‟ in service. Non-supply of information, delay in supply of information or providing information which is inaccurate or incomplete would amount to deficiency in service by the public authority.”
  15. 15. Cont.  By seeking compensation under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1986, there is no breach of the Section 23 of RTI Act which bars the jurisdiction of courts as is only an additional remedy and does not mean to challenge the order of the Information Commission.  There is no bar from seeking remedy under CPA along with seeking compensation under section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act. The CPA provides additional remedy in addition to the remedies provided under any other Acts and it is not in derogation of any provisions of law for the time being in force.
  16. 16. Conclusion - RTI needs to be filed in specific format for seeking some information and not discussing consumer dispute in it. - RTI can be filed against government run bodies and private bodies owned partially or considerably by government bodies. - After 30 days from filing of RTI if applicant don‟t get adequate reply from PIO, then he can approach the consumer forum.
  17. 17. Tip  Before preparing application or appeal, one should read the rules framed by the concerned State Government or the High Court.  You may ask for a free copy of the „Citizens Charter‟ to be supplied with the reply.
  18. 18. Step by step procedure of filing an RTI  http://nyayabhoomi.org/right-to- information/step-by-step-procedures
  19. 19. Resources  http://info.akosha.com/consumer- complaints/consumer- protection/approaching-consumer- forums-when-info-under-rti-is-refused-a- quick-guide/  http://nyayabhoomi.org  http://rti.gov.in/  Case- http://164.100.72.12/ncdrcrep/judgement /00RP197505.html

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