In a policy transparency news update, all ministries were asked to clearly mention detailed reasons for denial of information sought by people under the Right To Information (RTI) Act by the Centre. They have also been told to cite relevant sections of the RTI Act while denying information under the transparency law.
It has been observed that different public authorities provide information to RTI applicants in different formats. Though there cannot be a standard format for providing information, the reply should however essentially contain the name, designation, official telephone number and email ID of the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), said the guidelines issued by Department of Personnel and Training.
“In the concluding para of the reply, it should be clearly mentioned that the First Appeal, if any, against the reply of the CPIO may be made to the First Appellate Authority within 30 days of receipt of reply of CPIO,” it said.
The name, designation, address, official telephone number and e-mail ID of the First Appellate Authority should also be clearly mentioned,” the guidelines said.
In addition, wherever the applicant has requested for “certified copies” of the document or records, the CPIO should endorse on the document “True copy of the document or record supplied under RTI Act”, sign the document with date, above a seal containing name of the officer, CPIO and name of public authority, it said.
“Further in case the documents to be certified and supplied is large in number, information on RTI application should be supplied by a designated PIO but the certification of the documents, if need be, could be done by another junior gazetted officer,” said the guidelines issued by the DoPT, which acts as nodal authority for implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The RTI Act allows a citizen to seek time-bound reply on governance-related matters from government departments.