When to file RTI Appeal/Complaint before Punjab Information Commission?
- In case PIO fails to respond within 14 working days of filing of RTI request by citizen or he is not satisfied with the decision or attitude of PIO.
- RTI appeal is filed under Rule 9 of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Rules, 2014.
Grounds of RTI Appeal/Complaint (Rule 9(1)):
- PIO fails to provide requisite information or communicate his decision within 14 working days.
- Non-responsiveness of PIO.
- Unreasonable behavior of PIO or HOD dealing with internal review.
- PIO provides incomplete, misleading or false information.
- Any other grievance of citizen.
How to file RTI Appeal/Complaint?
- It can be filed on a plain paper or on format prescribed by the Commission.
- The appellant has to certify that he has not already or concurrently filed any application, complaint or suite before any other forum or court (It is clarified that other proceedings shall be a bar for filing of RTI appeal if the main prayer/cause in other proceedings is also to retrieve same information/documents. In case the main prayer/cause is different and the information is required as evidence then this bar shall not be applicable).
- The Commission is empowered for efficient disposal of RTI appeal/complaint if the names and contacts of PIO and HOD concerned are mentioned in the Appeal/Complaint.
- The appeal can be filed free of charge or any fee for filing or processing.
- The appeal can be filed in Commission by hand or dispatching by post or at email address (email@example.com).
- Copy of original RTI request filed to PIO along with dispatch receipt or diary number of its filing must be enclosed with RTI appeal/complaint.
- The acknowledgment receipt of appeal/complaint is generated by Commission with 3 working days, which must be collected by appellant.
- The mailing address and all other contacts (email & telephone) must be noted at the bottom of appeal/complaint.
Requirements to be followed after filing of RTI Appeal/Complaint:
- The personal appearance of appellant is not mandatory but the voluntary appearance of appellant creates a great difference for quick disposal of RTI appeal/complaint.
- It is important for appellant to keep himself/herself aware about the progress of his/her appeal/complaint either through telephonic contact with the Assistant concerned or by visiting website of Commission.
- In most of cases the public body on receiving first directive/summon of Commission forwards complete or partial copies of requisite information to the appellant/complainant. The Commission must be immediately intimated accordingly.
- In cases where PIOs claim any exemption u/s 13 of RTI Act, 2013, the Commission personally calls such PIOs for hearing. The participation of appellants/complainants for such hearings either by personal appearance or through online is very important.
Best Use of Information relating to Public Importance:
The real object of getting public information of public importance is to highlight irregularities or gaps, eliminate corruption and to contribute for reforms of institutions. That is why Commission appreciates retrieval of such information instead of personal or targeted information of some particular public functionary which are aimed at harassment or blackmailing, as generally claimed by respondents.
Citizens filled with national spirit use public information of public importance in following manners;
- by developing a story for print/electronic media drawing attention of public at large and higher authorities to discuss and rectify,
- by filing applications to higher authorities of the public body or investigative agencies like Anti-Corruption Establishment etc. if some element of current practice or embezzlement is identified,
- by filing public interest writ petitions to seek the directions of Hon’ble Superior Courts