THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005

THE   RIGHT  TO  INFORMATION  ACT,  2005

No. 22 of 2005

[15th June, 2005.]

An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions  and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

WHEREAS the Constitution of India has established democratic Republic;

AND WHEREAS democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed;

AND WHEREAS revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information;

AND WHEREAS it is necessary to harmonise these conflicting interests while preserving the paramountcy of the democratic ideal;

NOW, THEREFORE, it is expedient to provide for furnishing certain information to citizens who desire to have it.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

  Short title, extent and commencement:

  1. (1)  This  Act  may be called  the Right to Information Act, 2005.

(2)  It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3)  The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 4, sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 5, 12, 13,  15,16, 24 , 27 and 28 shall come into  force at once, and  the remaining provisions of this   Act  shall come into force on the one hundred and twentieth day of its enactment.

Definitions

2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(a) “appropriate Government” means in relation to a public authority which is established, constituted, owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly—

(i) by the Central Government or the Union territory administration, the Central Government;

(ii) by the State Government, the State Government;

(b) “Central Information Commission” means the Central Information Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 12;

(c) “Central Public Information Officer” means the Central Public Information Officer designated under sub-section (1) and includes a Central Assistant Public Information Officer designated as such under sub-section (2) of section 5;

(d) “Chief Information Commissioner” and “Information Commissioner” mean the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioner appointed under sub-section (3) of section 12;

(e) “competent authority” means—

(i) the Speaker in the case of the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State or a Union territory having such Assembly and the Chairman in the case of the Council of States or Legislative Council of a State;

(ii) the Chief Justice of India in the case of the Supreme Court;

(iii) the Chief Justice of the High Court in the case of a High Court;

(iv) the President or the Governor, as the case may be, in the case of other authorities established or constituted by or under the Constitution;

(v) the administrator appointed under article 239 of the Constitution;

(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;

(g) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act by the appropriate Government or the competent authority, as the case may be;

(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted—(a) by or under the Constitution; (b)by any other law made by Parliament; (c)by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any— i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;

(i) “record” includes— (a) any document, manuscript and file; (b)any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; (c)any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

(j) “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to—(i)inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;(iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;

(k) “State Information Commission” means the State Information Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 15;

(l) “State Chief Information Commissioner” and “State Information Commissioner” mean the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioner appointed under sub-section (3) of section 15;

(m) “State Public Information Officer” means the State Public Information Officer designated under sub-section (1) and includes a State Assistant Public Information Officer designated as such under sub-section (2) of section 5;

(n) “third party” means a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority.

 

CHAPTER II

 

Right to information and obligations of public authorities

  1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have the right to information.

Obligations

  1. (1) Every public authority shall -

(a) maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated;

(b) publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,—

(i)  the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties;

(ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees;

(iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability;

(iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;

(v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;

(vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control;

(vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof;

(viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public;

(ix) a directory of its officers and employees;

(x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

(xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made;

(xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;

(xiii)  particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it;

(xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form;

(xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;

(xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers;

(xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year;

(c) publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public;(d)provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons.

(2) It shall be a constant endeavour of every public authority to take steps in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section (1) to provide as much information suo motto to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.

(3) For the purposes of sub-section (1), every information shall be disseminated widely and in such form and manner which is easily accessible to the public.

(4) All materials shall be disseminated taking into consideration the cost effectiveness, local language and the most effective method of communication in that local area and the information should be easily accessible, to the extent possible in electronic format with the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, available free or at such cost of the medium or the print cost price as may be prescribed.

Designation of PIOs

  1. (1) Every public authority shall, within one hundred days of the enactment of this Act, designate as many officers as the Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, in all administrative units or offices under it as may be necessary to provide information to persons requesting for the information under this Act.

(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), every public authority shall designate an officer, within one hundred days of the enactment of this Act, at each sub-divisional level or other sub-district level as a Central Assistant Public Information Officer or a State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, to receive the applications for information or appeals under this Act for forwarding the same forthwith to the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or senior officer specified under sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be:

Provided that where an application for information or appeal is given to a Central Assistant Public Information Officer or a State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, a period of five days shall be added in computing the period for response specified under sub-section (1) of section 7.

(3) Every Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall deal with requests from persons seeking information and render reasonable assistance to the persons seeking such information.

(4) The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties.

(5) Any officer, whose assistance has been sought under sub-section (4), shall render all assistance to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, seeking his or her assistance and for the purposes of any contravention of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be.

Request for obtaining information

6 (1) A person, who desires to obtain any information under this Act, shall make a request in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, accompanying such fee as may be prescribed, to—

(a) the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, of the concerned public authority;

(b) the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, specifying the particulars of the information sought by him or her: Provided that where such request cannot be made in writing, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing.

(2) An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.

(3) Where an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information,—

(i) which is held by another public authority; or (ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer: Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application.

Disposal of Request

7(1) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 5 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 6, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request under section shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9:

Provided that where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

(2) If the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, fails to give decision on the request for information within the period specified under sub-section (1), the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have refused the request.

(3) Where a decision is taken to provide the information on payment of any further fee representing the cost of providing the information, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall send an  intimation to the person making the request, giving—

(a) the details of further fees representing the cost of providing the information as determined by him, together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section (1), requesting him to deposit that fees, and the period intervening between the despatch of the said intimation and payment of fees shall be excluded for the purpose of calculating the period of thirty days referred to in that sub-section;

(b) information concerning his or her right with respect to review the decision as to the amount of fees charged or the form of access provided, including the particulars of the appellate authority, time limit, process and any other forms.

(4) Where access to the record or a part thereof is required to be provided under this Act and the person to whom access is to be provided is sensorily disabled, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall provide assistance to enable access to the information, including providing such assistance as may be appropriate for the inspection.

(5) Where access to information is to be provided in the printed or in any electronic format, the applicant shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (6), pay such fee as may be prescribed:

Provided that the fee prescribed under sub-section (1) of section 6 and sub-sections (1) and (5) of section 7 shall be reasonable and no such fee shall be charged from the persons who are of below poverty line as may be determined by the appropriate Government.

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (5), the person making request for the information shall be provided the information free of charge where a public authority fails to comply with the time limits specified in sub-section (1).

(7) Before taking any decision under sub-section (1), the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall take into consideration the representation made by a third party under section 11. 

(8) Where a request has been rejected under sub-section (1), the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall communicate to the person making the request,—

(i)  the reasons for such rejection;

(ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred; and

(iii)  the particulars of the appellate authority.

(9) An information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.

Exemption

8 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,—

(a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State lead to incitement of an offence;

(b) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court;

(c) information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;

(d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

(e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

(f) information received in confidence from foreign Government;

(g) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;

(h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;

(i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers:

Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over:

Provided further that those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed;

(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:

Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.

(3) Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section:

Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act.

Grounds for rejection

9.Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8, a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may reject a request for information where such a request for providing access would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting in a person other than the State.

10.(1) Where a request for access to information is rejected on the ground that it is in relation to information which is exempt from disclosure, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information.

(2) Where access is granted to a part of the record under sub-section (1), the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall give a notice to the applicant, informing—

(a) that only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided;

(b) the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based;

(c) the name and designation of the person giving the decision;

(d)  the details of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which the applicant is required to deposit; and

(e) his or her rights with respect to review of the decision regarding non-disclosure of part of the information, the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided, including the particulars of the senior officer specified under sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, time limit, process and any other form of access.

Third Party Information

11 (1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information:

Provided that except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law, disclosure may be allowed if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party.

(2) Where a notice is served by the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under sub-section (1) to a third party in respect of any information or record or part thereof, the third party shall, within ten days from the date of receipt of such notice, be given the opportunity to make representation against the proposed disclosure.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within forty days after receipt of the request under section 6, if the third party has been given an opportunity to make representation under sub-section (2), make a decision as to whether or not to disclose the information or record or part thereof and give in writing the notice of his decision to the third party.

(4) A notice given under sub-section (3) shall include a statement that the third party to whom the notice is given is entitled to prefer an appeal under section 19 against the decision.

CHAPTER III

  The Central Information Commission

12(1) The Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a body to be known as the Central Information Commission to exercise the powers conferred on, and to perform the functions assigned to, it under this Act.

(2) The Central Information Commission shall consist of—

(a) the Chief Information Commissioner; and

(b) such number of Central Information Commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary.

(3) The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of—

(i) the Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee;

(ii) the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha; and

(iii) a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

Explanation.—For the purposes of removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that where the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People has not been recognised as such, the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the House of the People shall be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition.

(4) The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the Central Information Commission shall vest in the Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the Information Commissioners and may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Central Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act.

(5) The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

(6) The Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.

(7) The headquarters of the Central Information Commission shall be at Delhi and the Central Information Commission may, with the previous approval of the Central Government, establish offices at other places in India.

Term of office and conditions of service

13 (1) The Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall not be eligible for reappointment: Provided that no Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office as such after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.

(2) Every Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier, and shall not be eligible for reappointment as such Information Commissioner:

Provided that every Information Commissioner shall, on vacating his office under this sub-section be eligible for appointment as the Chief Information Commissioner in the manner specified in sub-section (3) of section 12:

Provided further that where the Information Commissioner is appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner, his term of office shall not be more than five years in aggregate as the Information Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner

(3) The Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall before he enters upon his office make and subscribe before the President or some other person appointed by him in that behalf, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the First Schedule.

(4) The Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner may, at any time, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign from his office: Provided that the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner may be removed in the manner specified under section 14.

(5) The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of —

(a) the Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner;

(b) an Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner:

Provided that if the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of a pension, other than a disability or wound pension, in respect of any previous service under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, his salary in respect of the service as the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of that pension including any portion of pension which was commuted and pension equivalent of other forms of retirement benefits excluding pension equivalent of retirement gratuity:

Provided further that if the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner if, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of retirement benefits in respect of any previous service rendered in a Corporation established by or under any Central Act or State Act or a Government company owned or controlled by the Central Government or the State Government, his salary in respect of the service as the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of pension equivalent to the retirement benefits.

Provided  also that the salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners shall not be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment.

(6) The Central Government shall provide the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners with such officers and employees as may be necessary for the efficient performance of their functions under this Act, and the salaries and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees appointed for the purpose of this Act shall be such as may be prescribed.

Removal of Chief Information Commissioner or  Information Commissioner

14(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.

(2) The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the President may by order remove from office the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner if the Chief Information Commissioner or a Information Commissioner, as the case may be,—

(a) is adjudged an insolvent; or

(b) has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the President, involves moral turpitude; or

(c) engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or

(d) is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or

(e) has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the Chief Information Commissioner or a Information Commissioner.

(4) If the Chief Information Commissioner or a Information Commissioner in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of India or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emolument arising there from otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehavior.

CHAPTER IV

Constitution of State Information Commission 

15(1) Every State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a body to  be known as the —————  (name of the State) Information Commission to exercise the powers conferred on, and to perform the functions assigned to, it under this Act.

(2) The State Information Commission shall consist of—

(a) the State Chief Information Commissioner, and

(b) such number of State Information Commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary.

(3) The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of—

(i) the Chief Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee;

(ii)  the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly; and

(iii) a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister.

Explanation.—For the purposes of removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that where the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly has not been recognised as such, the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the Legislative Assembly shall be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition.

(4) The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the State Information Commission shall vest in the State Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the State Information Commissioners and may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the State Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act.

(5) The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

(6) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.

(7) The headquarters of the State Information Commission shall be at such place in the State as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify and the State Information Commission may, with the previous approval of the State Government, establish offices at other places in the State.

Terms of office and conditions of service

16(1) The State Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall not be eligible for reappointment:

Provided that no State Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office as such after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.

(2) Every State Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier, and shall not be eligible for reappointment as such State Information Commissioner:

Provided that every State Information Commissioner shall, on vacating his office under this sub-section, be eligible for appointment as the State Chief Information Commissioner in the manner specified in sub-section (3) of section 15:

Provided  further that where the State Information Commissioner is appointed as the State Chief Information Commissioner, his term of office shall not be more than five years in aggregate as the State Information Commissioner and the State Chief Information Commissioner.

(3) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, shall before he enters upon his office make and subscribe before the Governor or some other person appointed by him in that behalf, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the First Schedule.

(4) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner may, at any time, by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor, resign from his office:

Provided  that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner may be removed in the manner specified under section 17.

(5) The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of—

(a) the State Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner;

(b) the State Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Secretary to the State Government:

Provided that if the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of a pension, other than a disability or wound pension, in respect of any previous service under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, his salary in respect of the service as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of that pension including any portion of pension which was commuted and pension equivalent of other forms of retirement benefits excluding pension equivalent of retirement gratuity:

Provided further that where the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of retirement benefits in respect of any previous service rendered in a Corporation established by or under any Central Act or State Act or a Government company owned or controlled by the Central Government or the State Government, his salary in respect of the service as the State Chief Information Commissioner or the State Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of pension equivalent to the retirement benefits:

Provided  also  that the salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall not be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment.

(6) The State Government shall provide the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners with such officers and employees as may be necessary for the efficient performance of their functions under this Act, and the salaries and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees appointed for the purpose of this Act shall be such as may be prescribed.

Removal of State Chief Information Commissioner or State Information Commissioner

17(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.

(2) The Governor may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the Governor has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Governor may by order remove from office the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if a State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be,—

(a) is adjudged an insolvent; or

(b) has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Governor, involves moral turpitude; or

(c) engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or

(d) is, in the opinion of the Governor, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or

(e) has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.

(4) If the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour.

CHAPTER V

Powers and functions of the Information Commissions

18(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person,—

(a) who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be;

(b) who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act;

(c) who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act;

(d) who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable;

(e) who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act; and

(f) in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act.

(2) Where the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof.

(3) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:—

(a) summoning  and  enforcing the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things;

(b) requiring  the  discovery and inspection of documents;

(c) receiving  evidence on affidavit;

(d) requisitioning  any public record or copies thereof from any court or office;

(e) issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and

(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

(4) Notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other Act of Parliament or State Legislature, as the case may be, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may, during the inquiry of any complaint under this Act, examine any record to which this Act applies which is under the control of the public authority, and no such record may be withheld from it on any grounds.

Appeal

19 (1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub-section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority:

Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.

(2) Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.

(3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission:

Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.

(4) If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to that third party.

(5) In any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, who denied the request.

 

(6) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be disposed of within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing.

(7) The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.

(8) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to—

(a) require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including—

(i) by providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;

(ii) by appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be;

(iii) by publishing certain information or categories of information;

(iv) by making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records;

(v) by enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials;

(vi) by providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4;

(b) require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered;

(c) impose any of the penalties provided under this Act;

(d) reject the application.

(9)The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to the complainant and the public authority.

(10) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed.

Penalties

20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees

Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him:

Provided  further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be.

(2) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or mala fidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for disciplinary action against the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under the service rules applicable to him.

CHAPTER VI

(Miscellaneous)

 Protection of action taken in good faith

21.No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or any rule made there-under.

Act to have Overriding Effec

22.The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.

 Bar of Jurisdiction of Courts

23.No court shall entertain any suit, application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act and no such order shall be called in question otherwise than by way of an appeal under this Act.

Act not to apply to certain organizations

24 (1) Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government:

Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section:

Provided further that in the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, the information shall only be provided after the approval of the Central Information Commission, and notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, such information shall be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request.

(2) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the Schedule by including therein any other intelligence or security organisation established by that Government or omitting there-from any organisation already specified therein and on the publication of such notification, such organisation shall be deemed to be included in or, as the case may be, omitted from the Schedule.

(3) Every notification issued under sub-section (2) shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

(4) Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to such intelligence and security organisation being organisations established by the State Government, as that Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify:

Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section:

Provided further that in the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, the information shall only be provided after the approval of the State Information Commission and, notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, such information shall be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request.

(5) Every notification issued under sub-section (4) shall be laid before the State Legislature.

Monitoring and Reporting

25(1) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each year, prepare a report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act during that year and forward a copy thereof to the appropriate Government.

(2) Each Ministry or Department shall, in relation to the public authorities within their jurisdiction, collect and provide such information to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, as is required to prepare the report under this section and comply with the requirements concerning the furnishing of that information and keeping of records for the purposes of this section.

3) Each report shall state in respect of the year to which the report relates,—

(a) the number of requests made to each public authority;

(b) the number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the documents pursuant to the requests, the provisions of this Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked;

(c) the number of appeals referred to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, for review, the nature of the appeals and the outcome of the appeals;

(d) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of this Act;

(e) the amount of charges collected by each public authority under this Act;

(f) any facts which indicate an effort by the public authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of this Act;

(g)  recommendations for reform, including recommendations in respect of the particular public authorities, for the development, improvement, modernisation, reform or amendment to this Act or other legislation or common law or any other matter relevant for operationalising  the right to access information.

4) The Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, may, as soon as practicable after the end of each year, cause a copy of the report of the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, referred to in sub-section (1) to be laid before each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, before each House of the State Legislature, where there are two Houses, and where there is one House of the State Legislature before that House.

(5) If it appears to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, that the practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under this Act does not conform with the provisions or spirit of this Act, it may give to the authority a recommendation specifying the steps which ought in its opinion to be taken for promoting such conformity.

 Appropriate Government to prepare programmes

26(1) The appropriate Government may, to the extent of availability of financial and other resources,—

(a)  develop and organise educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities as to how to exercise the rights contemplated under this Act;

(b) encourage public authorities to participate in the development and organisation of programmes referred to in clause (a) and to undertake such programmes themselves;

(c) promote timely and effective dissemination of accurate information by public authorities about their activities; and

(d) train Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, of public authorities and produce relevant training materials for use by the public authorities themselves.

(2) The appropriate Government shall, within eighteen months from the commencement of this Act, compile in its official language a guide containing such information, in an easily comprehensible form and manner, as may reasonably be required by a person who wishes to exercise any right specified in this Act.

(3) The appropriate Government shall, if necessary, update and publish the guidelines referred to in sub-section (2) at regular intervals which shall, in particular and without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (2), include—

(a)  the objects of this Act;

(b) the postal and street address, the phone and fax number and, if available, electronic mail address of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, of every public authority appointed under sub-section (1) of section 5;

(c) the manner and the form in which request for access to an information shall be made to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be;

(d) the assistance available from and the duties of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, of a public authority under this Act;

(e) the assistance available from the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be;

(f) all remedies in law available regarding an act or failure to act in respect of a right or duty conferred or imposed by this Act including the manner of filing an appeal to the Commission;

(g) the provisions providing for the voluntary disclosure of categories of records in accordance with section 4;

(h) the notices regarding fees to be paid in relation to requests for access to an information; and

(i) any additional regulations or circulars made or issued in relation to obtaining access to an information in accordance with this Act.

(4) The appropriate Government must, if necessary, update and publish the guidelines at regular intervals.

Power to make rules by appropriate government

27 (1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—

(a) the cost of the medium or print cost price of the materials to be disseminated under sub-section (4) of section 4;

(b) the fee payable under sub-section (1) of section 6;

(c) the fee payable under sub-sections (1) and (5) of section 7;

(d) the salaries and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees under sub-section (6) of section 13 and sub-section (6) of section 16;

(e) the procedure to be adopted by the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, in deciding the appeals under sub-section (10) of section 19; and

(f) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed.

Power to make rules by competent authority

28(1)The competent authority may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—

(i)  the cost of the medium or print cost price of the materials to be disseminated under sub-section (4) of section 4;

(ii)  the fee payable under sub-section (1) of section 6;

(iii) t he fee payable under sub-section (1) of section 7; and

(iv) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed.

Laying of rules

29(1) Every rule made by the Central Government under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

(2) Every rule made under this Act by a State Government shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is notified, before the State Legislature.

Power to remove difficulties.

30 (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for removal of the difficulty:

Provided  that no such order shall be made after the expiry of a period of two years from the date of the commencement of this Act.

(2)  Every order made under this section shall, as soon as may be after it is made, be laid before each House of Parliament.

Repeal

31.The Freedom of Information Act, 2002 is hereby repealed.

(((((((((((())))))))))))

 

THE FIRST SCHEDULE

[See sections 13(3) and 16(3)]

Form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Chief Information Commissioner/the Information Commissioner/the State Chief Information Commissioner/the State Information Commissioner

“I, …………………, having been appointed Chief Information Commissioner/Information Commissioner/State Chief Information Commissioner/State Information Commissioner swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.”

(((((((((((()))))))))))

THE SECOND SCHEDULE

(See section 24)

Intelligence and security organisation established by the Central Government

1.Intelligence  Bureau.

2.Research  and Analysis Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat.

3.Directorate  of Revenue Intelligence.

4.Central  Economic Intelligence Bureau.

5.Directorate  of Enforcement.

6. Narcotics Control Bureau.

7.Aviation Research Centre.

8. Special Frontier Force.

9. Border Security Force.

10.Central Reserve Police Force.

11.Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

12.Central Industrial Security Force.

13.National Security Guards.

14Assam Rifles.

15.Sashtra Seema Bal.

16.Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation).

17.National Technical Research Organisation.

18.Financial Intelligence Unit, India

19.Special Protection Group.

20. Defence Research & Development Organisation.

21. Border Road Development Board.

22. National Security Council Secretariat.

23. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

 

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

 

GUIDELINES FOR INFORMATION SEEKERS UNDER THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005.

NO. 1/412009-1R

Government of lndia

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Department of Personnel & Training

North Block, New Delhi

Dated: the 05th  October, 2009

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Guide on the Right to information Act, 2005 ****

The undersigned is directed to say that this Department has issued four sets of guidelines and several other Office Memoranda regarding implementation of the Right to lnformation Act, 2005 during last three years. Section 26 of the Act requires the Government to prepare such guidelines and update these at regular intervals. Accordingly a consolidated updated Guide on the Act has been prepared which would help all the stake-holders -information seekers in getting information, public information officers in dealing with the RTI applications, first appellate authorities in taking cogent decisions on appeals and the public authorities in implementing various provisions of the Act in right earnest.

2. A copy of the Guide is enclosed herewith with the request that it may be brought to the notice of all concerned.

Director

Tel: 230921 58

1. All the Ministries I Departments of the Government of lndia 2. Union Public Service Commissionl Lok Sabha Sectt.1 Rajya Sabha Secretariat/ Cabinet Secretariat/ Central Vigilance Commission /President’s Secretariat/ Vice-President’s Secretariat1 Prime Minister’s Office1 Planning Commission / Election Commission 3. Central lnformation Commission / State lnformation Commissions. 4. Staff Selection Commission, CGO Complex, New Delhi , 5. Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of lndia, 10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi. 6. All officersIDeskslSections, Department of Personnel & Training and Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare.

Copy to: Chief Secretaries of all the StatesIUTs.

The enclosed Guide is mutatis mutandis applicable to the public authorities of the States as well. The State Government may like to get it translated into the regional language(s) and circulate amongst various stake-holders.

GUIDE ON RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005

Part I

FOR ALL STAKE HOLDERS

 

The right to information is implicitly guaranteed by the Constitution. However, with a  view to set out a practical regime for securing information, the Indian Parliament enacted the Right to lnformation Act, 2005 and thus gave a powerful tool to the citizens to get information from the Government as a matter of right. This law is very comprehensive and covers almost all matters of governance and has the widest possible reach, being applicable to Government at all levels- Union, State and Local as well as recipients of government grants.

2. The Act requires the Government to compile a guide in easily comprehensible form and  to update it from time to time. The Government has already published four guides in the past. one each for the information seekers, the public authorities, the Central Public lnformation Officers and the Appellate Authorities. Here is an updated consolidated guide for the use of all  stake-holders. This guide contains five parts. Part I of the guide discusses some aspects of the  Act which all the stake-holder are required to know. Rest of the four parts are specifically relevant to the public authorities, the information seekers, the public information officers and the first appellate authorities respectively.

3. Contents of this guide are specifically relevant in relation to the Central Government but are equally applicable to the State Governments except in relation to rules about payment of fee or deciding of appeals by the lnformation Commissions. It may be noted that this guide uses the term Public lnformation Officer in place of Central Public Information Officer / State Public lnformation Officer. Likewise Assistant Public lnformation Officer has been used for Central Assistant Public lnformation Officer / State Assistant Public lnformation Officer and lnformation Commission for Central lnformation Commission / State lnformation Commission except where it was considered necessary to make specific reference to the Central Public lnformation Officer / Central lnformation Commission etc. The Departmental Appellate Authority has been referred to as First Appellate  Authority inasmuch as the first appeal lies with him.

Object of the Right to lnformation Act

4. The basic object of the Right to lnformation Act is to empower the citizens, promote  transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make  our democracy work for the people in real sense. It goes without saying that an informed citizen  is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed. The Act is a big step towards making the  citizens informed about the activities of the Government.

What is lnformation

5. Information is any material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails,  opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time  being in force. What is a Public Authority

6. A “public authority” is any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; or by any other law made by the Parliament or a State Legislature; or by notification issued or order made by the Central Government or a State Government. The bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government and non-Government organisations substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government also fall within the definition of public authority. The financing of the body or the NGO by the Government may be direct or indirect.

Public lnformation Officer 7. Public authorities have designated some of its officers as Public lnformation Officer. They are responsible to give information to a person who seeks information under the RTI Act. Assistant Public lnformation Officer 8. These are the officers at sub-divisional level to whom a person can give his RTI  application or appeal. These officers send the application or appeal to the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority or the concerned appellate authority. An Assistant Public  lnformation Officer is not responsible to supply the information. 9. The Assistant Public lnformation Officers appointed by the Department of Posts in various post offices are working as Assistant Public lnformation Officers for all the public authorities under the Government of India. Right to lnformation under the Act

10. A citizen has a right to seek such information from a public authority which is held by the public authority or which is held under its control. This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is important to note that only such information can be supplied under the Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. The Public lnformation Officer is not supposed to create information: or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions.

11. The Act gives the citizens a right to information at par with the Members of Parliament and  the Members of State Legislatures. According to the Act, the information which cannot be  denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature, shall not be denied to any person.

12. A citizen has a right to obtain information from a public authority 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 e-mailed or transferred to diskettes etc

13. The information to the applicant should ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought. However, if the supply of information sought in a particular form would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or may cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, supply of information in that form may be denied.

14. In some cases, the applicants expect the Public lnformation Officer to give information in  some particular proforma devised by them on the plea that they have a right to get information in the form in which it is sought. It need be noted that the provision in the Act simply means  that if the information is sought in the form of photocopy, it shall be provided in the form of  photocopy, or if it is sought in the form of a floppy, it shall be provided in that form subject to the conditions given in the Act. It does not mean that the PI0 shall re-shape the information. This is substantiated by the definition of the term ‘right to information’ as given in the Act, according to which, it includes right to obtaining 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. Everywhere in the Act, the word ‘form’ has been used to represent this meaning.

15. Some lnformation Seekers request the Public lnformation Officers to cull out information from some document(s) and give such extracted information to them. A citizen has a right to get ‘material’ from a public authority which is held by or under the control of that public authority. The Act, however, does not require the Public lnformation Officer to deduce some conclusion from the ‘material’ and supply the ‘conclusion’ so deduced to the applicant. It means that the Public lnformation Officer is required to supply the ‘material’ in the form as held by the public authority, but not to do research on behalf of the citizen to deduce anything from the material and then supply it to him.

Right to lnformation Vis-a-vis other Act

16. The RTI Act has over-riding effect vis-a-vis other laws inasmuch as the provisions of the  RTI Act would have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act. 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument  having effect by virtue of any law other than the RTI Act.

Supply of lnformation to Associations etc.

17. The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of lndia. It does not make provision for giving information to Corporations, 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.

Fee for seeking lnformation

18. A person who desires to seek some information from a public authority is required to  send, along with the application, a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order  of Rs.101- (Rupees ten), payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to the Assistant Public lnformation Officer against proper receipt.

19. The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the PI0 as prescribed by the  Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005. Rates of fee as prescribed in the Rules are given below:

(a) rupees two (Rs. 2/-) for each page ( in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;

(b) actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper;

(c) actual cost or price for samples or models;

(d) for information provided in diskette or floppy, rupees fifty (Rs.501-) per diskette or floppy; and (e) for information provided in printed form, at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.

20. As already pointed out, a citizen has a right to inspect the records of a public authority. For inspection of records, the public authority shall charge no fee for the first hour. But a fee of rupees five (Rs.5/-) for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof) shall be charged.

21. If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) categoly, he is not required to pay  any fee. However, he should submit a proof in support of his claim to belong to the below  poverty line. The application not accompanied by the prescribed fee of Rs.101- or proof of the applicant’s belonging to below poverty line, as the case may be, shall not be a valid application under the Act. It may be pointed out that there is no bar on the public authority to supply information in response to such applications. However, provisions of Act would not apply to such cases.

Format of Application

22. There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can  be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal  address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain name and postal address of the applicant.

23. The information seeker is not required to give reasons for seeking information 

Information Exempted From Disclosure

24. Sub-section (1) of section 8 and section 9 of the Act enumerate the types of information  which is exempt from disclosure. Sub-section (2) of section 8, however, provides that information exempted under sub-section (1) or exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 can be disclosed if public interest in disclosure overweighs the harm to the protected interest.

25.The information which, in normal course, is exempt from disclosure under sub-section(1) of  Section 8 of the Act, would cease to be exempted if 20 years have lapsed after occurrence of the incident to which the information relates. However, the following types of information would continue to be exempt and there would be no obligation, even afler lapse of 20 years, to give any citizen-

(i) information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and  integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence;

(ii) information the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature; or

(iii) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers,  Secretaries and other Officers subject to the conditions given in proviso to clause (i) of sub-section(1) of Section 8 of the Act.

Record Retention Schedule and the Act

26. The Act does not require the public authorities to retain records for indefinite period. The records need be retained as per the record retention schedule applicable to the concerned public authority. Information generated in a file may survive in the form of an OM or a letter or in any other form even after destruction of the file / record. Section 8(3) of the Act requires furnishing of information so available after the lapse of 20 years even if such information was exempt from disclosure under subsection(1) of Section 8. Assistance Available to the Applicant

27. If a person is unable to make a request in writing, he may seek the help of the Public  lnformation Officer to write his application and the Public lnformation Officer should render him reasonable assistance. Where a decision is taken to give access to a sensorily disabled person to any document, the Public lnformation Officer, shall provide such assistance to the person as may be appropriate for inspection.

Time Period for Supply of lnformation

28. ln normal course, information to an applicant shall be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority. If information sought concerns the life or liberty of  a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours. In case the application is sent through the Assistant Public lnformation Officer or it is sent to a wrong public authority, five days shall be added to the period of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be. Further details in this regard are given in the chapter,

For the Public lnformation Officers.’

29.lf an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48  hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him, he may prefer an appeal to the first appellate authority who is an officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer. Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public lnformation Officer is received The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.

30. If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Central lnformation Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.

Complaints

31. If any person is unable to submit a request to a Public lnformation Officer either by  reason that such an officer has not been appointed by the concerned public authority; or the Assistant Public lnformation Officer has refused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the same to the Public lnformation Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be; or he has been refused access to any information requested by him under the RTI Act; or he has not been given a response to a request for information within the time limit specified in the Act; or he has been required to pay an amount of fee which he considers unreasonable; or he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information, he can make a complaint to the lnformation Commission.

Disposal of Appeals and Complaints by the CIC

32. The Central lnformation Commission decides the appeals and complaints and conveys its decision to the appellant / complainant and first appellate authority1 Public lnformation Officer. The Commission may decide an appeal / complaint after hearing the parties to the appeal / complaint or by inspection of documents produced by the appellant / complainant and Public Information officer or such senior officer of the public authority who decided the first appeal. If the Commission chooses to hear the parties before deciding the appeal or the complaint, the Commission will inform the date of hearing to the appellant or the complainant at least seven clear days before the date of hearing. The appellant/complainant has the discretion to be present in person or through his authorized representative at the time of hearing  or not to be present.

Third Party lnformation

33. Third party in relation to the Act means a person other than the citizen who has made request for information. The definition of third party includes a public authority other than the public authority to whom the request has been made.

Disclosure of Third Party lnformation

34. lnformation including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the  disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, is exempt from disclosure. Such information should not be disclosed unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

35. In regard to a third party information which the third party has treated as confidential, the Public lnformation Officer should follow the procedure as given in the chapter ‘FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS’. The third party should be given full opportunity to put his case for non-disclosure if he desires that the information should not be disclosed.

Part II

FOR PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

Public authorities are the repository of information which the citizens have a right to have  under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The Act casts important obligations on public authorities so as to facilitate the citizens of the country to access the information held under their control. The obligations of a public authority are basically the obligations of the head of the authority, who should ensure that these are met in right earnest. Reference made to public authority in this document is, in fact, a reference to the head of the public authority.

Maintenance and Computerisation of Records

2. Proper management of records is of utmost importance for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. A public authority should, therefore, maintain all its records properly. It should ensure that the records are duly catalogued and indexed in such a manner and form that it may facilitate the right to information.

Suo Motu Disclosure 3. Every public authority should provide as much information suo motu to the public through various means of communications so that the public have minimum need to use the Act to obtain information. Internet being one of the most effective means of communications, the information may be posted on the website. 4. Section 4(l)(b) of the Act, in particular, requires every public authority to publish following sixteen categories of information: (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its  control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control;

(vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof;

(viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public;

(ix) directory of its officers and employees; the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

(x) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans: proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made: the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;

(xi)particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; details in respect of the information, available to or held by it,reduced in an electronic form;

(xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;

(xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public lnformation Officers

5. Besides the categories of information enumerated above, the Government may  prescribe other categories of information to be published by any public authority. It need be stressed that publ~cation of the information as referred to above is not optional. It is a statutory requirement which every public authority is bound to meet.

6. Another important point to note is that it is not sufficient to publish the above information  once. The public authority is obliged to update such information every year. It is advisable that, as far as possible, the information should be updated as and when any development takes place. Particularly, in case of publication on the internet, the information should be kept updated all the time.

Dissemination of information

7. The public authority should widely disseminate the information. Dissemination should be done in such form and manner which is easily accessible to the public. It may be done through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcast, the internet or any other means. The public authority should take into consideration the cost effectiveness, local language and most effective method of communication in the local area while disseminating the information.

Publication of Facts about Policies and Decisions

8. Public authorities formulate policies and take various decisions from time to time. As provided in the Act, while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions affecting the public, the public authority should publish all relevant facts about such policies and decisions for the information of public at large.

Providing Reasons for Decisions

9. The public authorities take various administrative and quasi-judicial decisions which affect the interests of certain persons. It is mandatory for the concerned public authority to provide reasons for such decisions to the affected persons. It may be done by using appropriate mode of communication.

Designation of PlOs and APlOs etc.

10. Every public authority is required to designate Public lnformation Officers in all the administrative units or offices under it. Every public authority is also required to designate Assistant Public lnformation Officers at each sub-divisional level. The Government of India has decided that Central Assistant Public lnformation Officers (CAPlOs) appointed by the Department of Posts would act as CAPlOs for all the public authorities under the Government of India.

Designation of Appellate Authority

11. Sub-section (8) of Section 7 of the RTI Act provides that where a request for information is rejected, the Public lnformation Officer shall, inter-alia, communicate the particulars of the Appellate Authority to the person making the request. Thus, the applicant is informed about the particulars of the Appellate Authority when a request for information is rejected but there may be cases where the Public lnformation Officer does not reject the application, but the applicant does not receive a decision within the time as specified in the Act or he is aggrieved by the decision of the Public lnformation Officer. In such a case the applicant may like to exercise his right to appeal. But in absence of the particulars of the appellate authority, the applicant may face difficulty in making an appeal. All the public authorities should, therefore, designate the First Appellate Authorities and publish their particulars along with the particulars of the Public lnformation Officers.

Acceptance of Fee

12. According to the Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 as  amended by the Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2006, an applicant can make payment of fee in cash or by demand draft or banker’s cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority. The public authority should ensure that payment by any of the above modes is not denied or the applicant is not compelled to draw IPO etc. in the name of any officer other than the Accounts Officer. If any public authority does not have any Accounts Officer, it should designate an officer as such for the purpose of receiving fee under the RTI Act or rules made thereunder.

Compliance of the Orders of the Information Commission

13. While deciding an appeal, the lnformation Commission, may require the concerned public authority to take such steps as may be necessarily to secure compliance with the provisions of the Act. In this regard the Commission may pass an order to provide information to an applicant in a particular form; appoint. a Public lnformation Officer; publish certain information or categories of information; make necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records; enhance the provision of training for its officials; provide an annual report as prepared in compliance with clause (b) of subsection (I) of section 4 of the Act.

14. The Commission has power to pass orders requiring a public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered by him. It also has power to impose penalty on the Public lnformation Officer as provided in the Act. It may be noted that penalty is imposed on the Public lnformation Officer which is to be paid by him. However, the compensation, ordered by the Commission to be paid to an applicant would have to be paid by the public authority,

15. The decisions of the Commission are binding. The public authority should ensure that the orders passed by the Commission are implemented. If any public authority or a PI0 is of the view that an order of the Commission is not in consonance with the provisions of the Act, it may approach the High Court by way of a Writ Petition.

Development of Programmes etc.

16. It is expected of each public authority that it would develop and organise educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities, as to how to exercise the rights contemplated under the Act; and ensure timely and effective dissemination of accurate lnformation about their activities. Training of the Public lnformation Officers and other officers of a public authority is very important for meeting these expectations and effective implementation of the provisions or the Act. The public authorities should, therefore, arrange for training of their officers designated as Public lnformation Officer / First Appellate Authority and other officers who are directly or indirectly involved in tve implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Creation of Central Point

17. Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Right to lnformation Act, 2005 mandates all public authorities to designate as many Public lnformation Officers as necessary to provide information under the Act. Where a public authority designates more than one Public lnformation Officer (PIO), an applicant is likely to face difficulty in approaching the appropriate Public lnformation Officer. The applicants would also face problem in identifying the officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer to whom an appeal under sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Act can be made. Therefore all public authorities with more than one PI0 should create a central point within the organisation where all the RTI applications and the appeals addressed to the First Appellate Authorities may be received. An officer should be made responsible to ensure that all the RTI applications / appeals received at the central point are sent to the concerned Public lnformation Officers / Appellate Authorities, on the same day.

Transfer of Applications

18. The Act provides that if an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information, which is held by another public authority; or the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or relevant part of it to that other public authority within five days from the receipt of the application. The public authority should sensitize its officers about this provision of the Act lest the public authority is held responsible for delay.

Annual Report of the CIC

19. The Information Commissions, after the end of each year, are required to prepare reports on the implementation of the provisions of the Act during that year. Each Ministry or Department is required, in relation to the public authorities within its jurisdiction, to collect and provide information to the concerned lnformation Commission for preparation of the report. The report of the Commission, inter-aha, contains following information in respect of the year to which the report relates-

(a) the number of requests made to each public authority;

(b) the number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the documents pursuant to the requests, the provisions of the Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked;

(c) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of the Act;

(e) the amount of charges collected by each public authority under the Act; and

(f) any facts which indicate an effort by the public authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of the Act.

20. Every public authority should send necessary material to its administrative  Ministry / Department soon after the end of the year so that the Ministry / Department may send the information to the Commission and the Commission may incorporate the same in its report.

21. If it appears to the lnformation Commission that a practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under the Act does not conform with the provisions or spirit of the Act, it may give a recommendation to the authority specifying the steps ought to be taken for promoting such conformity. The concerned public authority should take necessary action to bring its practice in conformity with the Act.

Part Ill

FOR INFORMATION SEEKERS

Method of Seeking lnformation

A citizen who desires to obtain any information under the Act, should make an  application to the Public lnformation Officer of the concerned public authority in writing in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. The application should be precise and specific. He should make payment of application fee at the time of submitting the application as prescribed in the Fee Rules. The applicant can send the application by post or through electronic means or can deliver it personally in the office of the public authority. The application can also be sent through an Assistant Public lnformation Officer.

Application to the concerned Public Authority:

2. The applicant should make application to the concerned public authority. It is advised that he should make all efforts to ascertain as to which is the public authority concerned with the information and should send application to the Public lnformation Officer of that public authority.

3. It is observed that some applicants seek information in respect of many subjects by way of one application. It creates problem for the Public lnformation Officer as well as the applicant. The applicant should, therefore, see to it that by way of one application, he seeks information in respect of one subject only.

Fee for Seeking lnformation

4. The applicant, along with the application, should send application fee to the Public lnformation Officer. In case of Government of India prescribed application fee is Rs. 101- which can be paid through a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to the Assistant Public lnformation Officer against proper receipt.

5. The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the Public lnformation Officer. The fee so demanded can be paid the same way as application fee.

6. If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) category, he is not required to pay any fee. However, he should submit a proof in support of his claim to belong to the below poverty line. The application not accompanied by the prescribed application fee or proof of the applicant’s belonging to below poverty line, as the case may be, shall not be a valid application under the Act.

Format of Application

7. There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain name and postal address of the applicant.

Filing of Appeal

8. An applicant can file an appeal to the first appellate authority if information is not supplied to him within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him. Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public lnformation Officer is received. The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.

9. If the appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the lnformation Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.

10. The appeal made to the Central lnformation Commission should contain the following information: -

(i) Name and address of the appellant;

(ii) Name and address of the Public lnformation Officer against the decision of whom the appeal is preferred;

(iii) Particulars of the order including number, if any, against which the appeal is preferred;

(iv) Brief facts leading to the appeal;

(v) If the appeal is preferred against deemed refusal, particulars of the application, including number and date and name and address of the Public lnformation Officer to whom the application was made;

(vi) Prayer or relief sought;

(vii) Grounds for prayer or relief;

(viii)Verification by the appellant; and

(ix) Any other information, which the Commission may deem necessary for deciding the appeal.

11. The appeal made to the Central lnformation Commission should be accompanied by the  following documents:

(i) Self-attested copies of the orders or documents against which appeal is made;

(ii) Copies of the documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in the appeal; and

(iii) An index of the documents referred to in the appeal.

Filing of Complaints

12. A person can make a complaint to the lnformation Commission if he is unable to submit a request to a Public lnformation Officer either by reason that such an officer has not been  appointed by the concerned public authority; or the Assistant Public lnformation Officer has refused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the same to the Public lnformation Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be; or he has been refused access to any information requested by him under the RTI Act; or he has not been given a response to a request for information within the time limit specified in the Act; or he has been required to pay an amount of fee which he considers unreasonable; or he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information.

Part IV

FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS

The Public lnformation Officer of a public authority plays a pivotal role in making the right of citizens to information a reality. The Act casts specific duties on him and makes him liable for penalty in case of default. It is, therefore, essential for a Public lnformation Officer to study the Act carefully and understand its provisions correctly. Besides the issues discussed elsewhere in this document, a Public lnformation Officer should keep the following aspects in view while dealing with the applications under the Act.

Applications Received Without Fee

2. Soon after receiving the application, the Public lnformation Officer should check whether the applicant has made the payment of application fee or whether the applicant is a person belonging to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family. If application is not accompanied by the prescribed fee or the BPL Certificate, it cannot be treated as an application under the RTI Act. It may, however, be noted that Public lnformation Officer should consider such application sympathetically and try to supply information sought by way of such an application.

Transfer of Application

3. Some times requests are made to a public authority for information which do not concern that public authority or only a part of which is available with the public authority to which the application is made and remaining or whole of the information concerns another public authority or many other public authorities.

4. Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 provides that a person who desires to obtain any information shall make a request to the public information officer of the concerned public authority. Section 6(3) provides that where an application is made to a public authority requesting for any information which is held by another public authority or the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority to which such an application is made, shall transfer the application to that other public authority. The provisions of sub-section (1) and sub-section(3) of Section 6, suggest that the Act requires an information seeker to address the application to the Public lnformation Officer of the ‘concerned public authority’. However, there may be cases in which a person of ordinary prudence may believe that the information sought by himlher would be available with the public authority to which helshe has addressed the application, but is actually held by some other public authority. In such cases, the applicant makes a bonafide mistake of addressing the application to the Public lnformation Officer of a wrong public authority. On the other hand where an applicant addresses the application to the Public lnformation Officer of a public authority, which to a person of ordinaty prudence, would not appear to be the concern of that public authority, the applicant does not fulfill his responsibility of addressing the application to the ‘concerned public authority’.

5. Given hereinunder are some situations which may arise in the matter and action required to be taken in such cases:

(i) A person makes an application to a public authority for some information which concerns some another public authority. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer receiving the application should transfer the application to the concerned public authority under intimation to the applicant. However, if the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority is not able to find out as to which public authority is concerned with the information even after making reasonable efforts to find out the concerned public authority, he should inform the applicant that the information is not available with his public authority and that he is not aware of the particulars of the concerned public authority to which the application could be transferred. It would, however, be the responsibility of the PIO, if an appeal is made against his decision, to establish that he made reasonable efforts to find out the particulars of the concerned public authority.

(ii) A person makes an application to a public authority for information, only a part of which is available with that public authority and a part of the information concerns some ‘another public authority.’ In such a case, the Public lnformation Offtcer should supply the information concerning his public authority and a copy of the application should be sent to that another public authority under intimation to the applicant.

(iii) A person makes an application to a public authority for information, a part of which is available with that public authority and the rest of the information is scattered with more than one other public authorities. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority receiving the application should give information relating to it and advise the applicant to make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them. If no part of the information sought, is available with it but is scattered with more than one other public authorities, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant that information is not available with the public authority and that the applicant should make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them. It may be noted that the Act requires the supply of such information only which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is beyond the scope of the Act for a public authority to collect the information from various public authorities to supply it to the applicant. At the same time, since the information is not related to any one another particular public authority, it is not the case where application should be transferred under sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the Act. It is pertinent to note that sub-section (3) refers to ‘another public authority’ and not to ‘other public authorities’. Use of singular form in the Act in this regard is important to note.

(iv) If a person makes an application to a public authority of Central Government for some information which is the concern of a public authority under any State Government or the Union Territory Administration, the Public Information Officer of the public authority receiving the application should inform the applicant that the information may be had from the concerned State GovernmenVUT Administration. Application, in such a case, need not be transferred to the State Government / UT Administration.

6. In brief, if the application is accompanied by the prescribed fee or the Below Poverty Line Certificate, the Public lnformation Officer should check whether the subject matter of the application or a part thereof concerns some other public authority. If the subject matter of the application concerns any other public authority, it should be transferred to that public authority. If only a part of the application concerns the other public authority, a copy of the application may be sent to that public authority, clearly specifying the part which relates to that public authority. While transferring the application or sending a copy thereof, the concerned public authority should be informed that the application fee has been received. The applicant should also be informed about the transfer of his application and the particulars of the public authority to whom the application or a copy thereof has been sent.

7. Transfer of application or part thereof, as the case may be, should be made as soon as possible and in any case within five days from the date of receipt of the application. If a Public lnformation Officer transfers an application after fwe days from the receipt of the application, he would be responsible for delay in disposal of the application to the extent of number of days which he takes in transferring the application beyond 5 days. 8. The Public lnformation Officer of the public authority to whom the application is transferred, should not refuse acceptance of transfer of the application on the ground that it was not transferred to him within 5 days.

9. A public authority may designate as many Public information Officers for it, as it may deem necessary. It is possible that in a public authority with more than one Public lnformation Officer, an application is received by the Public lnformation Officer other than the concerned Public lnformation Officer. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer receiving the application should transfer it to the concerned Public lnformation Officer immediately, preferably the same day. Time period of five days for transfer of the application applies only when the application is transferred from one public authority to another public authority and not for transfer from one Public lnformation Officer to another in the same public authority.

Rendering Assistance to Applicants

10. The RTI Act provides that the Public lnformation Officer has a duty to render reasonableassistance to the persons seeking information. As per provisions of the Act, a person, who desires to obtain any information is required to make a request in writing or through electronicmeans in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. If a person seeking information is not able to make such request in writing, the Public lnformation Officer should render reasonable assistance to him to reduce the same in writing.

11. Where access to a record is required to be provided to a sensorily disabled person, the Public lnformation Officer should provide assistance to such person to enable him to access the information. He should also provide such assistance to the person as may be appropriate for the inspection of records where such inspection is involved.

Assistance Available to PIO

12. The Public lnformation Officer may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties. The officer, whose assistance is so sought by the Public lnformation Officer, would render all assistance to him. Such an officer shall be deemed to be a Public lnformation Officer and would be liable for contravention of any provisions of the Act the same way as any other Public lnformation Officer. It would be advisable for the Public lnforrnation Officer to inform the officer whose assistance is sought, about the above provision, at the time of seeking his assistance.

13. Some Public lnforrnation Officers, on the basis of above referred provision of the Act, transfer the RTI applications received by them to other officers and direct them to send information to the applicants as deemed Public lnformation Officer. Thus, they use the above referred provision to designate other officers as Public lnformation Officer. According to the Act, it is the responsibility of the officer who is designated as the Public lnformation Officer by the public authoriiy to provide information to the applicant or reject the application for any reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act. The Act enables the Public lnformation Officer to seek assistance of any other officer to enable him to provide information to the information seeker, but it does not give him authority to designate any other officer as Public lnformation Officer and direct him to send reply to the applicant. The import of the provision is that, if the officer whose assistance is sought by the Public lnformation Officer, does not render necessaly help to him, the lnformation Commission may impose penalty on such officer or recommend disciplinary action against him the same way as the Commission may impose penalty on or recommend disciplinary action against the Public lnforrnation Officer.

Supplv of lnformation

14.The answering Public lnformation Officer should check whether the information sought or a part thereof is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 or Section 9 of the Act. Request in respect of the part of the application whtch is so exempt may be rejected and rest of the information should be provided immediately or after receipt of additional fees, as the case may be.

15. Where a request for information is rejected, the Public Informalion Officer should communicate to the person making the request-

(i) the reasons for such rejection;

(ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred; and

(iii) the particulars of the authority to whom an appeal can be made.

16. If additional fee is required to be paid by the applicant as provided in the Fee and Cost Rules, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant:

(i) the details of further fees required to be paid;

(ii) the calculations made to arrive at the amount of fees asked for;

(iii) the fact that the applicant has a right to make appeal about the amount of fees so demanded;

(iv) the particulars of the authority to whom such an appeal can be made; and

(v) the time limit within which the appeal can be made.

Supply of Part information by Severance

17. Where a request is received for access to information which is exempt from disclosure but a part of which is not exempt, and such part can be severed in such a way that the severed part does not contain exempt information then, access to that part of the informationlrecord may be provided to the applicant. Where access is granted to a part of the record in such a way, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant that the information asked for is exempt from disclosure and that only part of the record is being provided, after severance, which is not exempt from disclosure. While doing so, he should give the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based. The Public lnformation Officer should take the approval of appropriate authority before supply of information in such a case and should inform the name and designation of the person giving the decision to the applicant also.

Time Period for Supply of lnformation

18. The Public lnformation Officer should supply the information within thirty days of the receipt of the request. Where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same should be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request. If request for information is received through the APIO, the information may be provided within 35 days of receipt of application by the APIO in normal course and 48 hours plus 5 days in case the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person.

19. In case of an application transferred from one public authority to another public authority, reply should be provided by the concerned public authority within 30 days of the receipt of the application by that public authority in normal course and within 48 hours in case the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person.

20. The Public lnformation Officers of the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule of the Act may receive applications seeking information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, lnformation in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, which is provided only after the approval of the Central lnformation Commission, should be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request. Time limit prescribed for supplying information in regard to allegations of corruption is the same as in other cases.

21. Where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee, the period intervening between the dispatch of the intimation about payment of fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for the purpose of calculating the period of reply. The following table shows the maximum time which may be taken to dispose off the applications in different situations:

I-7 — –

Situation 1 )e limit for disposing off 1 applications in normal course. Su~plv of information if it concerns the life authority: (a) In normal course if the application is received — if applicationlrequest is recelved afler transfer from another public (b) In case the information concerns the life or liberty of a person. 05 days shall be added to the time period indicated at Sr. No. I and 2. I i ~ 5. Supply of information by organizations specified in the Second Schedule: (a) If information relates to allegations of violation I of human rights. (a) Within 30 days of the receipt of the application by the concerned public authorii. (b) Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by the concerned public authority (a) 45 days from the receipt of application. 1 1 (b) In case information relates to allegations of 1 (b) Within 30 days of the 1 1 6, ~ . . corruption. , , , . vication. I, SUDD~V of lnformatlon d it relates to third DartV Should be provided after . . 1 andihk third party has treated it as confidential. where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee. given in para 23 to 28 of this art of the document. between informing the applicant about additional fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for calculating the P eriod of repk

22. If the Public Information Officer fails to give decision on the request for information within the prescribed period, he shall be deemed to have refused the request. It is pertinent to note that if a public authority fails to comply with the specified time limit, the information to the concerned applicant would have to be provided free of charge.

Disclosure of Third Partv lnformation ,

23. lnformation including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third patty, is exempt from disclosure. Such an information shall not be disclosed unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

24. If an applicant seeks any information which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and that third party has treated that information as confidential, the Public lnformation Officer shall consider whether the information should be disclosed or not. The guiding principle in such cases is that except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law. disclosure may be allowed if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party. However, the Public lnformation Officer would have to follow the following procedure before disclosing such information.

25. If the Public lnformation Officer intends to disclose the information, he shall within flve days from the receipt of the application, give a written notice to the third party that the information has been sought by the applicant under the RTI Act and that he intends to disclose the information. He shall request the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information may be disclosed. The third party shall be given a time of ten days, from the date of receipt of  the notice by him, to make representation against the proposed disclosure, if any.

26. The Publlc lnformation Officer shall make a decision regarding disclosure of the information keeping in view the submission of the third party. Such a decision should be taken within forty days from the receipt of the request for information. After taking the decision, the Public lnformation Officer should give a notice of his decision to the third party in writing. The notice given to the third party should include a statement that the third party is entitled to prefer an appeal under section 19 against the decision.

27. The third party can prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority against the decision made by the Public lnformation Officer within thirty days from the date of the receipt of notice. If not satisfied with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, the third party can prefer a second appeal to the lnformation Commission.

28. If an appeal has been filed by thethird party against the decision of the Public lnformation Officer to disclose the third party information, the information should not be disclosed till the appeal is decided.

Suo Motu Disclosure

29. The Act makes it obligatory for every public authority to make su-motu disclosure in respect of the particulars of its organization, functions, duties and other matters, as provided in section 4 of the Act. The information so published, according to sub-section (4) of section 4, should be easily accessible with the Public lnformation Officer in electronic form. The Public lnformation Officer should, therefore, make concerted efforts to ensure that the requirements of the Section 4 of the RTI Act 2005 are met and maximum information in respect of the public authority is made available on the internet. It would help him in two ways. First. the number of applications under the Act would be reduced and secondly, it would facilitate his work of providing information inasmuch as most of the information would be available to him at one place.

Imposition of Penalty

30. An applicant under the Act has a right to appeal to the lnformation Commission and also to make complaint to the Commission. Where the lnformation Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public Information Officer has without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fdty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished subject to the condition that the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees. The Public lnformation Offcer shall, however, be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him. The burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently and in case of denial of a request that such denial was justified shall be on the Public lnformation Officer.

Disciplinary Action Aaainst PIO

31. Where the lnformation Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public lnformation Officer has without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it may recommend disciplinary action against the Public lnformation Officer.

Protection for Work Done in Good Faith

32. Section 21 of the Act provides ?hat no suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shah lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under the Act or any rule made thereunder. A Public lnformation Officer should, however, note that it would be his responsibility to prove that his action was in good faith.

Annual Report of the CIC

33. The Central lnformation Commission prepares a report on the implementation of the provisions of the RTI Act every year, which is laid before each House of the Parliament. This report, inter-alia, has to include information about the number of requests made to each public authority, the number of decisions where the applicants were not entitled to access to documents requested for, the provisions of the Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked, the amount of charges collected by each public authority under the Act. Each MinistrylDepartment is required to collect such information from all the public authorities under its jurisdiction and send the same to the Commission. The Public lnformation Officers should maintain the requisite information in this regard so that it may be supplied to their administrative MinistrylDepartment soon afler the end of the year, which in turn may supply to the Commission.

Part V

FOR FIRST APPELLATE AUTHORITIES

It is the responsibility of the Public Information Officer of a public authority to supply correct and complete information within the specified time to any person seeking information under the RTI Act. 2005. There are possibilities that a Public lnformation Officer may not act as per provisions of the Act or an applicant may not otherwise be satisfied with the decision of the Public lnformation Officer. The Act contains provision of two appeals to tide over such situations. The first appeal lies within the public authority itself which is made to an officer designated as the First Appellate Authority by the concerned public authority. The First Appellate Authority happens to be an officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer. The second appeal lies with the lnformation Commission. The Central lnformation Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005 govern the procedure for deciding appeals by the Central lnformation Commission.

First Appeal

2. The information sought by an applicant should either be supplied to him or his application should be rejected within the time prescribed by the Act. If additional fee need be charged from the applicant, communication in this regard should be sent to him within the time limit prescribed for sending information. If the applicant does not receive information or decision about rejection of request or commu~ication about payment of additional fee within the specified time, he can make an appeal to the First Appellate Authority. Appeal can also be made if the applicant is aggrieved by the decision of the Public lnformation Officer regarding supply of information or the quantum of fee decided by the Public lnformation Officer.

3. A third party can prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority if it is not satisfied with the decision made by the Public lnformation Officer about disclosure of the information for which it has objected. Such an appeal can be made within thirty days from the date of the receipt of notice from the Public lnformation Officer to the effect that he proposes to disclose the concerned information. If not satisfied with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, the third party can prefer the second appeal to the lnformation Commission.

Disposal of Appeal

4. Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi-judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see to it that the justice is not only done but it should also appear to have been done. In order to do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at.

5. If an appellate authority while deciding an appeal comes to a conclusion that the appellant should be supplied information in addition to what has been supplied by the Public Information Officer, he may either (i) pass an order directing the Public lnformation Officer to give such information to the appellant; or (ii) he himself may give information to the appellant. In the first case the appellate authority should ensure that the information ordered by him to be supplied is supplied to the appellant immediately. It would, however, be better if the appellate authority chooses the second course of action and he himself furnishes the information alongwith the order passed by him in the matter.

6. If, in any case, the Public Information Officer does not implement the order passed by the appellate authority and the appellate authority feels that intervention of higher authority is required to get his order implemented, he should bring the matter to the notice of the officer in the public authority competent to take action against the Public lnformation Officer. Such competent officer shall take necessary action so as to ensure ~mplementation of the provisions of the RTI Act.

TIME LIMIT FOR DISPOSAL OF APPEAL

7. The first appellate authority should dispose off the appeal within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. In exceptional cases, the Appellate Authority may take 45 days for its disposal. However, in cases where disposal of appeal takes more than 30 days, the Appellate Authority should record in writing the reasons for such delay.

OOOOOOO

No. 1/8/2007-IR

Government of India

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

(Department of Personnel)

——

New Delhi, the 8th November, 2007

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

 

Subject: Guidelines for information seekers under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The undersigned is directed to say that this Department, soon after the enactment of the Right to Information Act, 2005, had posted reply to some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regarding implementation of the Act on its website (http://righttoinformation.gov.in/) so as to enable smooth exercise of the right to information by persons who wish to do so. A number of references have since been received which would show that there is a need to issue further guidelines elaborating some provisions of the Act and method of its use by the general public. The guidelines have, accordingly, been prepared for the information seekers, a copy of which is enclosed. It is requested that these guidelines may be given wide publicity.

Sd/-

(K.G.Verma)

Director

Tel: 23092158

To

  1. All Ministries / Departments of Govt. of India.
  2. Union Public Service Commission / Lok Sabha Secretariat / Rajya Sabha Secretariat / Cabinet Secretariat / Central Vigilance Commission / President,s Secretariat / Vice-President’s Secretariat / Prime Minister’s Office / Planning Commission.
  3. Staff Selection Commission, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
  4. Office of the Comptroller General & Auditor General of India, 10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi.
  5. Central Information Commission / State Information Commissions.

Copy to: Chief Secretaries of all the States / UTs- It is requested that the enclosed guidelines may be translated into the regional language(s) and given wide publicity. They may also issue similar guidelines for getting information from the public authorities under them.

 ))))((((

GUIDE ON RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005

Part I

FOR ALL STAKE HOLDERS

The right to information is implicitly guaranteed by the Constitution. However, with a  view to set out a practical regime for securing information, the Indian Parliament enacted the Right to lnformation Act, 2005 and thus gave a powerful tool to the citizens to get information from the Government as a matter of right. This law is very comprehensive and covers almost all matters of governance and has the widest possible reach, being applicable to Government at all levels- Union, State and Local as well as recipients of government grants.

2. The Act requires the Government to compile a guide in easily comprehensible form and  to update it from time to time. The Government has already published four guides in the past. one each for the information seekers, the public authorities, the Central Public lnformation Officers and the Appellate Authorities. Here is an updated consolidated guide for the use of all  stake-holders. This guide contains five parts. Part I of the guide discusses some aspects of the  Act which all the stake-holder are required to know. Rest of the four parts are specifically relevant to the public authorities, the information seekers, the public information officers and the first appellate authorities respectively.

3. Contents of this guide are specifically relevant in relation to the Central Government but are equally applicable to the State Governments except in relation to rules about payment of fee or deciding of appeals by the lnformation Commissions. It may be noted that this guide uses the term Public lnformation Officer in place of Central Public Information Officer / State Public lnformation Officer. Likewise Assistant Public lnformation Officer has been used for Central Assistant Public lnformation Officer / State Assistant Public lnformation Officer and lnformation Commission for Central lnformation Commission / State lnformation Commission except where it was considered necessary to make specific reference to the Central Public lnformation Officer / Central lnformation Commission etc. The Departmental Appellate Authority has been referred to as First Appellate  Authority inasmuch as the first appeal lies with him.

Object of the Right to lnformation Act

4. The basic object of the Right to lnformation Act is to empower the citizens, promote  transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make  our democracy work for the people in real sense. It goes without saying that an informed citizen  is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed. The Act is a big step towards making the  citizens informed about the activities of the Government.

What is lnformation

5. Information is any material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails,  opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time  being in force. What is a Public Authority

6. A “public authority” is any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; or by any other law made by the Parliament or a State Legislature; or by notification issued or order made by the Central Government or a State Government. The bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government and non-Government organisations substantially financed by the Central Government or a State Government also fall within the definition of public authority. The financing of the body or the NGO by the Government may be direct or indirect.

Public lnformation Officer

7. Public authorities have designated some of its officers as Public lnformation Officer. They are responsible to give information to a person who seeks information under the RTI Act. Assistant Public lnformation Officer

8. These are the officers at sub-divisional level to whom a person can give his RTI  application or appeal. These officers send the application or appeal to the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority or the concerned appellate authority. An Assistant Public  lnformation Officer is not responsible to supply the information.

9. The Assistant Public lnformation Officers appointed by the Department of Posts in various post offices are working as Assistant Public lnformation Officers for all the public authorities under the Government of India.

Right to lnformation under the Act

10. A citizen has a right to seek such information from a public authority which is held by the public authority or which is held under its control. This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is important to note that only such information can be supplied under the Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. The Public lnformation Officer is not supposed to create information: or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions.

11. The Act gives the citizens a right to information at par with the Members of Parliament and  the Members of State Legislatures. According to the Act, the information which cannot be  denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature, shall not be denied to any person.

12. A citizen has a right to obtain information from a public authority 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 e-mailed or transferred to diskettes etc.

13. The information to the applicant should ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought. However, if the supply of information sought in a particular form would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or may cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, supply of information in that form may be denied.

14. In some cases, the applicants expect the Public lnformation Officer to give information in  some particular proforma devised by them on the plea that they have a right to get information in the form in which it is sought. It need be noted that the provision in the Act simply means  that if the information is sought in the form of photocopy, it shall be provided in the form of  photocopy, or if it is sought in the form of a floppy, it shall be provided in that form subject to the conditions given in the Act. It does not mean that the PI0 shall re-shape the information. This is substantiated by the definition of the term ‘right to information’ as given in the Act, according to which, it includes right to obtaining 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. Everywhere in the Act, the word ‘form’ has been used to represent this meaning.

15. Some lnformation Seekers request the Public lnformation Officers to cull out information from some document(s) and give such extracted information to them. A citizen has a right to get ‘material’ from a public authority which is held by or under the control of that public authority. The Act, however, does not require the Public lnformation Officer to deduce some conclusion from the ‘material’ and supply the ‘conclusion’ so deduced to the applicant. It means that the Public lnformation Officer is required to supply the ‘material’ in the form as held by the public authority, but not to do research on behalf of the citizen to deduce anything from the material and then supply it to him.

Right to lnformation Vis-a-vis other Acts

16. The RTI Act has over-riding effect vis-a-vis other laws inasmuch as the provisions of the  RTI Act would have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act. 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument  having effect by virtue of any law other than the RTI Act.

Supply of lnformation to Associations etc.

17. The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of lndia. It does not make provision for giving information to Corporations, 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.

Fee for seeking lnformation

18. A person who desires to seek some information from a public authority is required to  send, along with the application, a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order  of Rs.101- (Rupees ten), payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to the Assistant Public lnformation Officer against proper receipt.

19. The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the PIO as prescribed by the  Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005. Rates of fee as prescribed in the Rules are given below:

(a) rupees two (Rs. 2/-) for each page ( in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;

(b) actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper;

(c) actual cost or price for samples or models;

(d) for information provided in diskette or floppy, rupees fifty (Rs.501-) per diskette or floppy; and (e) for information provided in printed form, at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.

20. As already pointed out, a citizen has a right to inspect the records of a public authority. For inspection of records, the public authority shall charge no fee for the first hour. But a fee of rupees five (Rs.5/-) for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof) shall be charged.

21. If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) categoly, he is not required to pay  any fee. However, he should submit a proof in support of his claim to belong to the below  poverty line. The application not accompanied by the prescribed fee of Rs.101- or proof of the applicant’s belonging to below poverty line, as the case may be, shall not be a valid application under the Act. It may be pointed out that there is no bar on the public authority to supply information in response to such applications. However, provisions of Act would not apply to such cases.

Format of Application

22. There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can  be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal  address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain name and postal address of the applicant.

23. The information seeker is not required to give reasons for seeking information

Information Exempted From Disclosure

24. Sub-section (1) of section 8 and section 9 of the Act enumerate the types of information  which is exempt from disclosure. Sub-section (2) of section 8, however, provides that information exempted under sub-section (1) or exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 can be disclosed if public interest in disclosure overweighs the harm to the protected interest.

25.The information which, in normal course, is exempt from disclosure under sub-section(1) of  Section 8 of the Act, would cease to be exempted if 20 years have lapsed after occurrence of the incident to which the information relates. However, the following types of information would continue to be exempt and there would be no obligation, even afler lapse of 20 years, to give any citizen-

(i) information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and  integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence;

(ii) information the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature; or

(iii) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers,  Secretaries and other Officers subject to the conditions given in proviso to clause (i) of sub-section(1) of Section 8 of the Act.

Record Retention Schedule and the Act

26. The Act does not require the public authorities to retain records for indefinite period. The records need be retained as per the record retention schedule applicable to the concerned public authority. Information generated in a file may survive in the form of an OM or a letter or in any other form even after destruction of the file / record. Section 8(3) of the Act requires furnishing of information so available after the lapse of 20 years even if such information was exempt from disclosure under subsection(1) of Section 8. Assistance Available to the Applicant

27. If a person is unable to make a request in writing, he may seek the help of the Public  lnformation Officer to write his application and the Public lnformation Officer should render him reasonable assistance. Where a decision is taken to give access to a sensorily disabled person to any document, the Public lnformation Officer, shall provide such assistance to the person as may be appropriate for inspection.

Time Period for Supply of lnformation

28.ln normal course, information to an applicant shall be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority. If information sought concerns the life or liberty of  a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours. In case the application is sent through the Assistant Public lnformation Officer or it is sent to a wrong public authority, five days shall be added to the period of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be. Further details in this regard are given in the chapter,

‘For the Public lnformation Officers.’

29.lf an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48  hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him, he may prefer an appeal to the first appellate authority who is an officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer. Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public lnformation Officer is received The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.

30. If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Central lnformation Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.

Complaints

31. If any person is unable to submit a request to a Public lnformation Officer either by  reason that such an officer has not been appointed by the concerned public authority; or the Assistant Public lnformation Officer has refused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the same to the Public lnformation Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be; or he has been refused access to any information requested by him under the RTI Act; or he has not been given a response to a request for information within the time limit specified in the Act; or he has been required to pay an amount of fee which he considers unreasonable; or he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information, he can make a complaint to the lnformation Commission.

Disposal of Appeals and Complaints by the CIC

32. The Central lnformation Commission decides the appeals and complaints and conveys its decision to the appellant / complainant and first appellate authority1 Public lnformation Officer. The Commission may decide an appeal / complaint after hearing the parties to the appeal / complaint or by inspection of documents produced by the appellant / complainant and Public Information officer or such senior officer of the public authority who decided the first appeal. If the Commission chooses to hear the parties before deciding the appeal or the complaint, the Commission will inform the date of hearing to the appellant or the complainant at least seven clear days before the date of hearing. The appellant/complainant has the discretion to be present in person or through his authorized representative at the time of hearing  or not to be present.

Third Party lnformation

33. Third party in relation to the Act means a person other than the citizen who has made request for information. The definition of third party includes a public authority other than the public authority to whom the request has been made.

Disclosure of Third Party lnformation

34. lnformation including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the  disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, is exempt from disclosure. Such information should not be disclosed unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

35. In regard to a third party information which the third party has treated as confidential, the Public lnformation Officer should follow the procedure as given in the chapter ‘FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS’. The third party should be given full opportunity to put his case for non-disclosure if he desires that the information should not be disclosed.

Part II

FOR PUBLIC AUTHORITIES 

Public authorities are the repository of information which the citizens have a right to have  under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The Act casts important obligations on public authorities so as to facilitate the citizens of the country to access the information held under their control. The obligations of a public authority are basically the obligations of the head of the authority, who should ensure that these are met in right earnest. Reference made to public authority in this document is, in fact, a reference to the head of the public authority.

Maintenance and Computerisation of Records

2. Proper management of records is of utmost importance for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. A public authority should, therefore, maintain all its records properly. It should ensure that the records are duly catalogued and indexed in such a manner and form that it may facilitate the right to information.

Suo Motu Disclosure

3. Every public authority should provide as much information suo motu to the public through various means of communications so that the public have minimum need to use the Act to obtain information. Internet being one of the most effective means of communications, the information may be posted on the website.

4. Section 4(l)(b) of the Act, in particular, requires every public authority to publish following sixteen categories of information:

(i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties;

(ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees;

(iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability;

(iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;

(v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its  control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;

(vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control;

(vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof;

(viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public;

(ix) directory of its officers and employees; the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

(x) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans: proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made: the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;

(xi)particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; details in respect of the information, available to or held by it,reduced in an electronic form;

(xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;

(xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public lnformation Officers.

5. Besides the categories of information enumerated above, the Government may  prescribe other categories of information to be published by any public authority. It need be stressed that publ~cation of the information as referred to above is not optional. It is a statutory requirement which every public authority is bound to meet.

6. Another important point to note is that it is not sufficient to publish the above information  once. The public authority is obliged to update such information every year. It is advisable that, as far as possible, the information should be updated as and when any development takes place. Particularly, in case of publication on the internet, the information should be kept updated all the time.

Dissemination of information

7. The public authority should widely disseminate the information. Dissemination should be done in such form and manner which is easily accessible to the public. It may be done through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcast, the internet or any other means. The public authority should take into consideration the cost effectiveness, local language and most effective method of communication in the local area while disseminating the information.

Publication of Facts about Policies and Decisions

8. Public authorities formulate policies and take various decisions from time to time. As provided in the Act, while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions affecting the public, the public authority should publish all relevant facts about such policies and decisions for the information of public at large.

Providing Reasons for Decisions

9. The public authorities take various administrative and quasi-judicial decisions which affect the interests of certain persons. It is mandatory for the concerned public authority to provide reasons for such decisions to the affected persons. It may be done by using appropriate mode of communication.

Designation of PlOs and APlOs etc.

10. Every public authority is required to designate Public lnformation Officers in all the administrative units or offices under it. Every public authority is also required to designate Assistant Public lnformation Officers at each sub-divisional level. The Government of India has decided that Central Assistant Public lnformation Officers (CAPlOs) appointed by the Department of Posts would act as CAPlOs for all the public authorities under the Government of India.

Designation of Appellate Authority

11. Sub-section (8) of Section 7 of the RTI Act provides that where a request for information is rejected, the Public lnformation Officer shall, inter-alia, communicate the particulars of the Appellate Authority to the person making the request. Thus, the applicant is informed about the particulars of the Appellate Authority when a request for information is rejected but there may be cases where the Public lnformation Officer does not reject the application, but the applicant does not receive a decision within the time as specified in the Act or he is aggrieved by the decision of the Public lnformation Officer. In such a case the applicant may like to exercise his right to appeal. But in absence of the particulars of the appellate authority, the applicant may face difficulty in making an appeal. All the public authorities should, therefore, designate the First Appellate Authorities and publish their particulars along with the particulars of the Public lnformation Officers.

Acceptance of Fee

12. According to the Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 as  amended by the Right to lnformation (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2006, an applicant can make payment of fee in cash or by demand draft or banker’s cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority. The public authority should ensure that payment by any of the above modes is not denied or the applicant is not compelled to draw IPO etc. in the name of any officer other than the Accounts Officer. If any public authority does not have any Accounts Officer, it should designate an officer as such for the purpose of receiving fee under the RTI Act or rules made thereunder.

Compliance of the Orders of the Information Commission

13. While deciding an appeal, the lnformation Commission, may require the concerned public authority to take such steps as may be necessarily to secure compliance with the provisions of theAct. In this regard the Commission may pass an order to provide information to an applicant in a particular form; appoint. a Public lnformation Officer; publish certain information or categories of information; make necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records; enhance the provision of training for its officials; provide an annual report as prepared in compliance with clause (b) of subsection (I) of section 4 of the Act.

14. The Commission has power to pass orders requiring a public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered by him. It also has power to impose penalty on the Public lnformation Officer as provided in the Act. It may be noted that penalty is imposed on the Public lnformation Officer which is to be paid by him. However, the compensation, ordered by the Commission to be paid to an applicant would have to be paid by the public authority,

15. The decisions of the Commission are binding. The public authority should ensure that the orders passed by the Commission are implemented. If any public authority or a PI0 is of the view that an order of the Commission is not in consonance with the provisions of the Act, it may approach the High Court by way of a Writ Petition.

Development of Programmes etc.

16. It is expected of each public authority that it would develop and organise educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities, as to how to exercise the rights contemplated under the Act; and ensure timely and effective dissemination of accurate lnformation about their activities. Training of the Public lnformation Officers and other officers of a public authority is very important for meeting these expectations and effective implementation of the provisions or the Act. The public authorities should, therefore, arrange for training of their officers designated as Public lnformation Officer / First Appellate Authority and other officers who are directly or indirectly involved in tve implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Creation of Central Point

17. Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Right to lnformation Act, 2005 mandates all public authorities to designate as many Public lnformation Officers as necessary to provide information under the Act. Where a public authority designates more than one Public lnformation Officer (PIO), an applicant is likely to face difficulty in approaching the appropriate Public lnformation Officer. The applicants would also face problem in identifying the officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer to whom an appeal under sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Act can be made. Therefore all public authorities with more than one PI0 should create a central point within the organisation where all the RTI applications and the appeals addressed to the First Appellate Authorities may be received. An officer should be made responsible to ensure that all the RTI applications / appeals received at the central point are sent to the concerned Public lnformation Officers / Appellate Authorities, on the same day.

Transfer of Applications

18. The Act provides that if an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information, which is held by another public authority; or the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or relevant part of it to that other public authority within five days from the receipt of the application. The public authority should sensitize its officers about this provision of the Act lest the public authority is held responsible for delay.

Annual Report of the CIC

19. The Information Commissions, after the end of each year, are required to prepare reports on the implementation of the provisions of the Act during that year. Each Ministry or Department is required, in relation to the public authorities within its jurisdiction, to collect and provide information to the concerned lnformation Commission for preparation of the report. The report of the Commission, inter-aha, contains following information in respect of the year to which the report relates-

(a) the number of requests made to each public authority;

(b) the number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the documents pursuant to the requests, the provisions of the Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked;

(c) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of the Act;

(e) the amount of charges collected by each public authority under the Act; and

(f) any facts which indicate an effort by the public authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of the Act.

20. Every public authority should send necessary material to its administrative  Ministry / Department soon after the end of the year so that the Ministry / Department may send the information to the Commission and the Commission may incorporate the same in its report.

21. If it appears to the lnformation Commission that a practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under the Act does not conform with the provisions or spirit of the Act, it may give a recommendation to the authority specifying the steps ought to be taken for promoting such conformity. The concerned public authority should take necessary action to bring its practice in conformity with the Act.

Part Ill

FOR INFORMATION SEEKERS

Method of Seeking lnformation

A citizen who desires to obtain any information under the Act, should make an  application to the Public lnformation Officer of the concerned public authority in writing in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. The application should be precise and specific. He should make payment of application fee at the time of submitting the application as prescribed in the Fee Rules. The applicant can send the application by post or through electronic means or can deliver it personally in the office of the public authority. The application can also be sent through an Assistant Public lnformation Officer.

Application to the concerned Public Authority:

2. The applicant should make application to the concerned public authority. It is advised that he should make all efforts to ascertain as to which is the public authority concerned with the information and should send application to the Public lnformation Officer of that public authority.

3. It is observed that some applicants seek information in respect of many subjects by way of one application. It creates problem for the Public lnformation Officer as well as the applicant. The applicant should, therefore, see to it that by way of one application, he seeks information in respect of one subject only.

Fee for Seeking lnformation

4. The applicant, along with the application, should send application fee to the Public lnformation Officer. In case of Government of India prescribed application fee is Rs. 101- which can be paid through a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority. The payment of fee can also be made by way of cash to the Accounts Officer of the public authority or to the Assistant Public lnformation Officer against proper receipt. 5. The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the Public lnformation Officer. The fee so demanded can be paid the same way as application fee. 6. If the applicant belongs to below poverty line (BPL) category, he is not required to pay any fee. However, he should submit a proof in support of his claim to belong to the below poverty line. The application not accompanied by the prescribed application fee or proof of the applicant’s belonging to below poverty line, as the case may be, shall not be a valid application under the Act.

Format of Application

7. There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain name and postal address of the applicant.

Filing of Appeal

8. An applicant can file an appeal to the first appellate authority if information is not supplied to him within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him. Such an appeal, should be filed within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of the Public lnformation Officer is received. The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.

9. If the appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the lnformation Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the appellant.

10. The appeal made to the Central lnformation Commission should contain the following information: -

(i) Name and address of the appellant; (ii) Name and address of the Public lnformation Officer against the decision of whom the appeal is preferred; (iii) Particulars of the order including number, if any, against which the appeal is preferred; (iv) Brief facts leading to the appeal; (v) If the appeal is preferred against deemed refusal, particulars of the application, including number and date and name and address of the Public lnformation Officer to whom the application was made; (vi) Prayer or relief sought; (vii) Grounds for prayer or relief; (viii)Verification by the appellant; and (ix) Any other information, which the Commission may deem necessary for deciding the 11. The appeal made to the Central lnformation Commission should be accompanied by the  following documents: (i) Self-attested copies of the orders or documents against which appeal is made; (ii) Copies of the documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in the appeal; and (iii) An index of the documents referred to in the appeal. Filing of Complaints 12. A person can make a complaint to the lnformation Commission if he is unable to submit a request to a Public lnformation Officer either by reason that such an officer has not been  appointed by the concerned public authority; or the Assistant Public lnformation Officer has refused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the same to the Public lnformation Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be; or he has been refused access to any information requested by him under the RTI Act; or he has not been given a response to a request for information within the time limit specified in the Act; or he has been required to pay an amount of fee which he considers unreasonable; or he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information. Part IV FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS

The Public lnformation Officer of a public authority plays a pivotal role in making the rightof citizens to information a reality. The Act casts specific duties on him and makes him liable for penalty in case of default. It is, therefore, essential for a Public lnformation Officer to study theAct carefully and understand its provisions correctly. Besides the issues discussed elsewhere in this document, a Public lnformation Officer should keep the following aspects in view while dealing with the applications under the Act.

Applications Received Without Fee

2. Soon after receiving the application, the Public lnformation Officer should check whether the applicant has made the payment of application fee or whether the applicant is a person belonging to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family. If application is not accompanied by theprescribed fee or the BPL Certificate, it cannot be treated as an application under the RTI Act. It may, however, be noted that Public lnformation Officer should consider such application sympathetically and try to supply information sought by way of such an application.

Transfer of Application

3. Some times requests are made to a public authority for information which do not concern that public authority or only a part of which is available with the public authority to which the application is made and remaining or whole of the information concerns another public authority or many other public authorities.

4. Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 provides that a person who desires to obtain any information shall make a request to the public information officer of the concerned public authority. Section 6(3) provides that where an application is made to a public authority requesting for any information which is held by another public authority or the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority to which such an application is made, shall transfer the application to that other public authority. The provisions of sub-section (1) and sub-section(3) of Section 6, suggest that the Act requires an information seeker to address the application to the Public lnformation Officer of the ‘concerned public authority’. However, there may be cases in which a person of ordinary prudence may believe that the information sought by himlher would be available with the public authority to which he / she has addressed the application, but is actually held by some other public authority. In such cases, the applicant makes a bona fide mistake of addressing the application to the Public lnformation Officer of a wrong public authority. On the other hand where an applicant addresses the application to the Public lnformation Officer of a public authority, which to a person of ordinary prudence, would not appear to be the concern of that public authority, the applicant does not fulfill his responsibility of addressing the application to the ‘concerned public authority’.

5. Given hereinunder are some situations which may arise in the matter and action required to be taken in such cases:

(i) A person makes an application to a public authority for some information which concerns some another public authority. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer receiving the application should transfer the application to the concerned public authority under intimation to the applicant. However, if the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority is not able to find out as to which public authority is concerned with the information even after making reasonable efforts to find out the concerned public authority, he should inform the applicant that the information is not available with his public authority and that he is not aware of the particulars of the concerned public authority to which the application could be transferred. It would, however, be the responsibility of the PIO, if an appeal is made against his decision, to establish that he made reasonable efforts to find out the particulars of the concerned public authority.

(ii) A person makes an application to a public authority for information, only a part of which is available with that public authority and a part of the information concerns some ‘another public authority.’ In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer should supply the information concerning his public authority and a copy of the application should be sent to that another public authority under intimation to the applicant.

(iii) A person makes an application to a public authority for information, a part of which is available with that public authority and the rest of the information is scattered with more than one other public authorities. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer of the public authority receiving the application should give information relating to it and advise the applicant to make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them. If no part of the information sought, is available with it but is scattered with more than one other public authorities, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant that information is not available with the public authority and that the applicant should make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them. It may be noted that the Act requires the supply of such information only which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is beyond the scope of the Act for a public authority to collect the information from various public authorities to supply it to the applicant. At the same time, since the information is not related to any one another particular public authority, it is not the case where application should be transferred under sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the Act. It is pertinent to note that sub-section (3) refers to ‘another public authority’ and not to ‘other public authorities’. Use of singular form in the Act in this regard is important to note.

(iv) If a person makes an application to a public authority of Central Government for some information which is the concern of a public authority under any State Government or the Union Territory Administration, the Public Information Officer of the public authority receiving the application should inform the applicant that the information may be had from the concerned State Government / UT Administration. Application, in such a case, need not be transferred to the State Government / UT

6. In brief, if the application is accompanied by the prescribed fee or the Below Poverty Line Certificate, the Public lnformation Officer should check whether the subject matter of the application or a part thereof concerns some other public authority. If the subject matter of the application concerns any other public authority, it should be transferred to that public authority. If only a part of the application concerns the other public authority, a copy of the application may be sent to that public authority, clearly specifying the part which relates to that public authority. While transferring the application or sending a copy thereof, the concerned public authority should be informed that the application fee has been received. The applicant should also be informed about the transfer of his application and the particulars of the public authority to whop the application or a copy thereof has been sent.

7. Transfer of application or part thereof, as the case may be, should be made as soon as possible and in any case within five days from the date of receipt of the application. If a Public lnformation Officer transfers an application after few days from the receipt of the application, he would be responsible for delay in disposal of the application to the extent of number of days which he takes in transferring the application beyond 5 days.

8. The Public lnformation Officer of the public authority to whom the application is transferred, should not refuse acceptance of transfer of the application on the ground that it was not transferred to him within 5 days.

9. A public authority may designate as many Public information Officers for it, as it may deem necessary. It is possible that in a public authority with more than one Public lnformation Officer, an application is received by the Public lnformation Officer other than the concerned Public lnformation Officer. In such a case, the Public lnformation Officer receiving the application should transfer it to the concerned Public lnformation Officer immediately, preferably the same day. Time period of five days for transfer of the application applies only when the application is transferred from one public authority to another public authority and not for transfer from one Public lnformation Officer to another in the same public authority.

Rendering Assistance to Applicants

10. The RTI Act provides that the Public lnformation Officer has a duty to render reasonable assistance to the persons seeking information. As per provisions of the Act, a person, who desires to obtain any information is required to make a request in writing or through electronicmeans in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. If a person seeking information is not able to make such request in writing, the Public lnformation Officer should render reasonable assistance to him to reduce the same in writing.

11. Where access to a record is required to be provided to a sensorily disabled person, the Public lnformation Officer should provide assistance to such person to enable him to access the information. He should also provide such assistance to the person as may be appropriate for the inspection of records where such inspection is involved.

Assistance Available to PIO

12. The Public lnformation Officer may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties. The officer, whose assistance is so sought by the Public lnformation Officer, would render all assistance to him. Such an officer shall be deemed to be a Public lnformation Officer and would be liable for contravention of any provisions of the Act the same way as any other Public lnformation Officer. It would be advisable for the Public lnformation Officer to inform the officer whose assistance is sought, about the above provision, at the time of seeking his assistance.

13. Some Public lnformation Officers, on the basis of above referred provision of the Act, transfer the RTI applications received by them to other officers and direct them to send information to the applicants as deemed Public lnformation Officer. Thus, they use the above referred provision to designate other officers as Public lnformation Officer. According to the Act, it is the responsibility of the officer who is designated as the Public lnformation Officer by the public authoriiy to provide information to the applicant or reject the application for any reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act. The Act enables the Public lnformation Officer to seek assistance of any other officer to enable him to provide information to the information seeker, but it does not give him authority to designate any other officer as Public lnformation Officer and direct him to send reply to the applicant. The import of the provision is that, if the officer whose assistance is sought by the Public lnformation Officer, does not render necessaly help to him, the lnformation Commission may impose penalty on such officer or recommend disciplinary action against him the same way as the Commission may impose penalty on or recommend disciplinary action against the Public lnforrnation Officer.

Supplv of lnformation

14.The answering Public lnformation Officer should check whether the information sought or a part thereof is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 or Section 9 of the Act. Request in respect of the part of the application whtch is so exempt may be rejected and rest of the information should be provided immediately or after receipt of additional fees, as the case may

15. Where a request for information is rejected, the Public Informalion Officer should communicate to the person making the request-

(i) the reasons for such rejection;

(ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred; and

(iii) the particulars of the authority to whom an appeal can be made.

16. If additional fee is required to be paid by the applicant as provided in the Fee and Cost Rules, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant:

(i) the details of further fees required to be paid;

(ii) the calculations made to arrive at the amount of fees asked for;

(iii) the fact that the applicant has a right to make appeal about the amount of fees so demanded;

(iv) the particulars of the authority to whom such an appeal can be made; and

(v) the time limit within which the appeal can be made.

Supply of Part information by Severance

17. Where a request is received for access to information which is exempt from disclosure but a part of which is not exempt, and such part can be severed in such a way that the severed part does not contain exempt information then, access to that part of the informationlrecord may be provided to the applicant. Where access is granted to a part of the record in such a way, the Public lnformation Officer should inform the applicant that the information asked for is exempt from disclosure and that only part of the record is being provided, after severance, which is not exempt from disclosure. While doing so, he should give the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based. The Public lnformation Officer should take the approval of appropriate authority before supply of information in such a case and should inform the name and designation of the person giving the decision to the applicant also.

Time Period for Supply of lnformation

18. The Public lnformation Officer should supply the information within thirty days of the receipt of the request. Where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same should be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request. If request for information is received through the APIO, the information may be provided within 35 days ofreceipt of application by the APIO in normal course and 48 hours plus 5 days in case the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person.

19. In case of an application transferred from one public authority to another public authority, reply should be provided by the concerned public authority within 30 days of the receipt of the application by that public authority in normal course and within 48 hours in case the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person.

20. The Public lnformation Officers of the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule of the Act may receive applications seeking information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, lnformation in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, which is provided only after the approval of the Central lnformation Commission, should be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request.Time limit prescribed for supplying information in regard to allegations of corruption is the same as in other cases.

21. Where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee, the period intervening between the dispatch of the intimation about payment of fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for the purpose of calculating the period of reply. The following table shows the maximum time which may be taken to dispose off the applications in different situations:

Situation 1 ) The limit for disposing off  applications in normal course. Supplv of information if it concerns the life authority: (a) In normal course if the application is received if applicationl request is recelved afler transfer from another public (b) In case the information concerns the life or liberty of a person. 05 days shall be added to the time period indicated at Sr. No. I and 2. I i ~ 5. Supply of information by organizations specified in the Second Schedule: (a) If information relates to allegations of violation  of human rights. (a) Within 30 days of the receipt of the application by the concerned public (b) Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by the concerned public authority (a) 45 days from the receiptof application. 1 1 (b) In case information relates to allegations of 1 (b) Within 30 days of the 1 1 6, ~ . . corruption. , , , . I, SUDD~V of lnformatlon d it relates to third DartV Should be provided after . . 1 andihk  third party has treated it as confidential. where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee. given in para 23 to 28 of this part of the document. between informing the applicant about additional fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for calculating the P eriod of repk

22. If the Public Information Officer fails to give decision on the request for information within the prescribed period, he shall be deemed to have refused the request. It is pertinent to note that if a public authority fails to comply with the specified time limit, the information to the concerned applicant would have to be provided free of charge.

Disclosure of Third Party lnformation ,

23. lnformation including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third patty, is exempt from disclosure. Such an information shall not be disclosed unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

24. If an applicant seeks any information which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and that third party has treated that information as confidential, the Public lnformation Officer shall consider whether the information should be disclosed or not. The guiding principle in such cases is that except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law. disclosure may be allowed if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party. However, the Public lnformation Officer would have to follow the following procedure before disclosing such information.

25. If the Public lnformation Officer intends to disclose the information, he shall within flve days from the receipt of the application, give a written notice to the third party that the information has been sought by the applicant under the RTI Act and that he intends to disclose the information. He shall request the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information may be disclosed. The third party shall be given a time of ten days, from the date of receipt of the notice by him, to make representation against the proposed disclosure, if any.

26. The Public lnformation Officer shall make a decision regarding disclosure of the information keeping in view the submission of the third party. Such a decision should be taken within forty days from the receipt of the request for information. After taking the decision, the Public lnformation Officer should give a notice of his decision to the third party in writing. The notice given to the third party should include a statement that the third party is entitled to prefer an appeal under section 19 against the decision.

27. The third party can prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority against the decision made by the Public lnformation Officer within thirty days from the date of the receipt of notice. If not satisfied with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, the third party can prefer a second appeal to the lnformation Commission.

28. If an appeal has been filed by the third party against the decision of the Public lnformation Officer to disclose the third party information, the information should not be disclosed till the appeal is decided.

Suo Motu Disclosure

29. The Act makes it obligatory for every public authority to make su-motu disclosure in respect of the particulars of its organization, functions, duties and other matters, as provided in section 4 of the Act. The information so published, according to sub-section (4) of section 4, should be easily accessible with the Public lnformation Officer in electronic form. The Public lnformation Officer should, therefore, make concerted efforts to ensure that the requirements of the Section 4 of the RTI Act 2005 are met and maximum information in respect of the public authority is made available on the internet. It would help him in two ways. First. the number of applications under the Act would be reduced and secondly, it would facilitate his work of providing information inasmuch as most of the information would be available to him at one

Imposition of Penalty

30. An applicant under the Act has a right to appeal to the lnformation Commission and also to make complaint to the Commission. Where the lnformation Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public Information Officer has without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fdty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished subject to the condition that the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees. The Public lnformation Offcer shall, however, be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him. The burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently and in case of denial of a request that such denial was justified shall be on the Public lnformation Officer.

Disciplinary Action Against PIO

31. Where the lnformation Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public lnformation Officer has without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it may recommend disciplinary action against the Public lnformation Officer.

Protection for Work Done in Good Faith

32. Section 21 of the Act provides ?hat no suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under the Act or any rule made there-under. A Public lnformation Officer should, however, note that it would be his responsibility to prove that his action was in good faith. Annual Report of the CIC

33. The Central lnformation Commission prepares a report on the implementation of the provisions of the RTI Act every year, which is laid before each House of the Parliament. This report, inter-alia, has to include information about the number of requests made to each public authority, the number of decisions where the applicants were not entitled to access to documents requested for, the provisions of the Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked, the amount of charges collected by each public authority under the Act. Each MinistrylDepartment is required to collect such information from all the public authorities under its jurisdiction and send the same to the Commission. The Public lnformation Officers should maintain the requisite information in this regard so that it may be supplied to their administrative Ministry / Department soon after the end of the year, which in turn may supply to the Commission.

Part V

FOR FIRST APPELLATE AUTHORITIES

It is the responsibility of the Public Information Officer of a public authority to supply correct and complete information within the specified time to any person seeking information under the RTI Act. 2005. There are possibilities that a Public lnformation Officer may not act as per provisions of the Act or an applicant may not otherwise be satisfied with the decision of the Public lnformation Officer. The Act contains provision of two appeals to tide over such situations. The first appeal lies within the public authority itself which is made to an officer designated as the First Appellate Authority by the concerned public authority. The First Appellate Authority happens to be an officer senior in rank to the Public lnformation Officer. The second appeal lies with the lnformation Commission. The Central lnformation Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005 govern the procedure for deciding appeals by the Central lnformation Commission.

First Appeal

2. The information sought by an applicant should either be supplied to him or his application should be rejected within the time prescribed by the Act. If additional fee need be charged from the applicant, communication in this regard should be sent to him within the time limit prescribed for sending information. If the applicant does not receive information or decision about rejection of request or commu~ication about payment of additional fee within the specified time, he can make an appeal to the First Appellate Authority. Appeal can also be made if the applicant is aggrieved by the decision of the Public lnformation Officer regarding supply of information or the quantum of fee decided by the Public lnformation Officer.

3. A third party can prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority if it is not satisfied with the decision made by the Public lnformation Officer about disclosure of the information for which it has objected. Such an appeal can be made within thirty days from the date of the receipt of notice from the Public lnformation Officer to the effect that he proposes to disclose the concerned information. If not satisfied with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, the third party can prefer the second appeal to the lnformation Commission.

Disposal of Appeal

4. Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi-judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see to it that the justice is not only done but it should also appear to have been done. In order to do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at.

5. If an appellate authority while deciding an appeal comes to a conclusion that the appellant should be supplied information in addition to what has been supplied by the Public Information Officer, he may either (i) pass an order directing the Public lnformation Officer to give such information to the appellant; or (ii) he himself may give information to the appellant. In the first case the appellate authority should ensure that the information ordered by him to be supplied is supplied to the appellant immediately. It would, however, be better if the appellate authority chooses the second course of action and he himself furnishes the information alongwith the order passed by him in the matter.

6. If, in any case, the Public Information Officer does not implement the order passed by the appellate authority and the appellate authority feels that intervention of higher authority is required to get his order implemented, he should bring the matter to the notice of the officer in  the public authority competent to take action against the Public lnformation Officer. Such competent officer shall take necessary action so as to ensure implementation of the provisions of the RTI Act.

TIME LIMIT FOR DISPOSAL OF APPEAL

7. The first appellate authority should dispose off the appeal within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. In exceptional cases, the Appellate Authority may take 45 days for its disposal. However, in cases where disposal of appeal takes more than 30 days, the Appellate Authority  should record in writing the reasons for such delay.

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (REGULATION OF FEE & COST) RULES,2005.

Government of India

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

(Department of Personnel and Training)

 

New Delhi, dated the 16th September, 2005

 

Notification

G.S.R…. In exercise of the powers conferred by the clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (2) of section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (22 of 2005), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely:-

  1. Short title and commencement -

(1) These rules may be called the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

  1. Definition – In the rules, unless the context otherwise requires, -

(a) ‘Act’ means the Right to Information Act, 2005;

(b) ‘section’ means section of the Act;

(c) all other words and expressions used herein but not defined and defined in the Act shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Act.

3. A request for obtaining information under sub-section (1) of section 6 shall  be accompanied by an application fee of rupees ten by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or bankers draft or bankers cheque or Indian Postal Order  payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority.

4.For providing the information under sub-section (1) of section 7, the fee shall be charged by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or bankers cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority at the following rates:-

(a) rupees two for each page (In A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;

(b) actual charge or cost price of a cost in larger size paper;

(c) actual cost or price for samples or models; and

(d) for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of rupees five for each fifteen minutes (no fraction thereof) thereafter.

5.For providing the information under sub-section (5) of section 7, the fee shall be charged by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or bankers cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority at the following rates:-

(a) for information provided in diskette or floppy rupees fifty per diskette or floppy; and

(b) for information provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.

[F.No.34012/8(s)/2005-Estt.(b)]

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THE CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION (MANAGEMENT)REGULATIONS, 2007.

The Central Information Commission (Management)

Regulations, 2007

New Delhi, dated June 13, 2007

  In exercise of the powers conferred by section 12(4) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (Act 22 of 2005) and all other provisions in the Act enabling in this behalf, the Chief Information Commissioner hereby makes the following Regulations for management of the affairs of the Central Information Commission so as to enable it to function effectively.

Chapter-1:

Short Title and Commencement:-

(i) These Regulations may be called “the Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007.

(ii) They shall come into force with effect from such date as the Chief Information Commissioner may by order specify.

(iii) Appeals and Complaints which have already been filed before the date of commencement of these Regulations and have been found in order and are already registered before this date will be proceeded with as before and shall not abate for any infirmity therein but these regulations will be applicable for any prospective action even in regard to such pending appeals and complaints.

2. Definitions:- In these Regulations unless the context otherwise requires, -

(a) “Act” means the Right to Information Act, 2005 (Act 22 of 2005);

(b) “Appellant” includes a complainant.

(c) “Commission” means the Central Information Commission;

(d) “Chief Information Commissioner” means the Chief Information  Commissioner appointed under the Act.

(e) “CPIO” (“PIO” in case of the Union Territories and the State of Delhi) means an officer designated by a public authority under Section 5(1) of the Act and includes an Assistant CPIO/PIO so designated or notified under Section 5(2) of the Act and it also includes —

(i) an officer to whom an application submitted under the Right to Information Act seeking certain information is transferred under Section 5(4) of the Act; and

(ii) any officer to whom the request for information from an applicant is submitted by the CPIO/PIO either for approval or for orders or for disposal; and

(iii) the Head of the public authority in case no CPIO/PIO is appointed or notified;

(f) “Decision” includes an order, direction or determination of an issue.

(g) “First Appellate Authority” means an authority so appointed or notified by the public authority under the Act and includes a head of the office or the head of the public authority if no first appellate authority is appointed or notified.

(h) “Information Commissioner” means an Information Commissioner appointed under the Act and a “Designated Commissioner” means an Information Commissioner designated by the Chief Information Commissioner to deal with appeals or complaints assigned to him by a general or special order.

(i) “Prescribed” means prescribed by or under the Act or under the Rules or Regulations.

(j) “Records” mean the aggregate of papers relating to an appeal or complaint including pleadings, rejoinders, comments, proceedings, documentary or oral evidence, decision, orders and all other documents filed with or annexed to an appeal or complaint or submitted subsequently in connection with such appeal or complaint.

(k) “Registry” means the Registry of the Commission comprising the Registrar(s), Additional Registrar(s), Joint Registrar(s), Deputy Registrar(s) or Assistant Registrar(s).

(l) “Registrar” means the Registrar of the Commission and unless the context otherwise requires includes an Additional Registrar, a Joint Registrar, a Deputy Registrar or an Assistant Registrar.

(m) “Regulation” means Regulation framed herein;

(n) “Representative” means a person duly authorized by or on behalf of any of the parties to the proceedings or interveners and may include a Legal Practitioner.

(o) “Respondent” includes an intervener or a third party or a party impleaded by the Commission.

(p) “Rules” mean the Rules framed by the Central Government under Section 27 of the Act;

(r) “Section” means section of the Act;

(s) Words and expressions used herein but not defined shall have the meaning assigned to them in the Act or in the Rules.  

CHAPTER-II:

Officers of the Commission and their functions  

3. Appointment of Registrar:- The Commission may designate one or more of its officers in the Commission to function as Registrar(s) of the Commission. It may also designate other officers of the Commission to act as Additional Registrar(s), Joint Registrar(s), Deputy Registrar(s) or Assistant Registrar(s) and provide other staff that may be necessary to assist the Registrars in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.  

4. Powers and functions of the Registrar:-  

(i) The Registrar shall be the Chief Executive of the Commission on the judicial side. Any communication addressed to him will be deemed to be addressed to the Commission and the Commission will be represented by him in all judicial matters.

(ii) The Registrar shall discharge his functions under the control and superintendence of the Chief Information Commissioner.

(iii) All records of the Commission shall be in the custody of the Registrar.

(iv) The Official Seal of the Commission shall be kept in the custody of the Registrar.

(v) Subject to any general or special directions of the Chief Information Commissioner, the Official Seal of the Commission shall be affixed to any order, summons or other process under the authority of the Registrar.

(vi) The Official Seal of the Commission shall not be affixed to any certified copy issued by the Commission save under the authority of the Registrar.

(vii) The office of the Registrar shall receive all applications, appeals, counter statements, replies and other documents.

(viii) The Registrar shall decide all questions arising out of the scrutiny of the appeals and complaints before these are registered.

(ix) The Registrar may require any application, appeal, counter statement, replies presented to the Commission to be amended in accordance with these Regulations and direct any formal amendment of such records.

(x) The Registrar shall fix the date of hearing of appeal, complaint or other proceedings and may prepare and notify in advance a cause list in respect of the cases listed for hearing.

(xi) The Registrar will decide questions relating to extension of time in respect of filing of counter statement, reply, rejoinder, etc.

(xii) The Registrar may, on payment of a fee prescribed for the purpose, grant leave to a party to the proceedings to inspect the record of the Commission under supervision and in presence of an officer of the Commission.

(xiii) Copies of documents authenticated or certified shall be provided to the parties to the proceedings only under the authority of the Registrar.

(xiv) The Registrar shall communicate the decisions, orders or directions of the Commission to the concerned person/persons, and all such communications signed or authenticated by the Registrar or under his authority shall be deemed to be the communication from the Commission.

(xv) The Registrar shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the orders, directions or decisions passed by the Commission and to take all necessary steps in this regard.

(xvi) The Registrar shall ensure that decency, decorum and order is maintained during hearing of an appeal, complaint or any other proceedings maintained and shall take all necessary steps in this regard.

(xviii) The Registrar shall exercise all such powers and discharge all such functions as are assigned to him by these Regulations or by the Chief Information Commissioner from time to time.

(xix) The Registrar shall assist all Information Commissioners in discharge of their functions.

(xx) The Additional Registrar shall have all the powers conferred on a Registrar and will exercise all the functions of the Registrar under his guidance.

(xxi) The Registrar may with the approval of the Chief Information Commissioner delegate to a Joint Registrar, Deputy Registrar or Assistant Registrar any function required to be performed under these Regulations.  

Chapter III:

Working Hours, sittings and vacations etc.  

5. Subject to any order by the Chief Information Commission, the office of the Commission will be open on all working days from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM with a lunch break of an hour from 1.00 PM to 2.00 PM. 6. The Commission may have Summer vacation of 2 to 4 weeks during June-July and a winter vacation of two weeks during December-January, as notified by the Chief Information Commission. The office of the Commission will, however, remain open during vacation except on gazetted holidays. The Chief Information Commissioner may make appropriate arrangements to deal with matters of urgent nature during vacations.  

CHAPTER – IV:

Registration, Abatement or Return of Appeal.  

7. Appeal or complaint etc. to be in writing:- Every appeal, complaint, application, statement, rejoinder, reply or any other document filed before the Commission shall be typed, printed or written neatly and legibly and in double line spacing and the language used therein shall be formal and civilised and should not be in any way indecent or abusive. The appeal, complaint or an application shall be presented in at least two sets in a paper-book form  

8. Contents of appeal or complaint:-

(1) An appeal or a complaint to the Commission shall contain the following information, namely:-

(i) name, address and other particulars of the appellant or complainant, as the case may be;

(ii) name and address of the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or the Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO) against whom a complaint is made under Section 18 of the Act, and the name and address of the First Appellate Authority before whom the first appeal was preferred under Section 19(1) of the Act.

(iii) particulars of the decision or order, if any, including its number and the date it was pronounced, against which the appeal is preferred; (iv) brief facts leading to the appeal or the complaint;

(v) if the appeal or complaint is preferred against refusal or deemed refusal of the information, the particulars of the application, including number and date and name and address of the Central Public Information Officer to whom the application was made and name and address of the First Appellate Authority before whom the appeal was filed;

(vi) prayer or relief sought;

(vii) grounds for the prayer or relief;

(viii) verification by the appellant or the complainant, as the case may be;and

(ix) any other information which may be deemed as necessary and helpful for the Commission to decide the appeal or complaint.  

(2) The contents of the complaint shall be in the same form as prescribed for the appeal with such changes as may be deemed necessary or appropriate.

9. Documents to accompany appeal or complaint:-

Every appeal or complaint made to the Commission shall be accompanied by self attested copies/photo copies of the following documents, namely:-

(i) The RTI application submitted before the CPIO along with documentary proof as regards payment of fee under the RTI Act;

(ii) The order, or decision or response, if any, from the CPIO to whom the application under the RTI Act was submitted.

(iii) The First appeal submitted before the First Appellate Authority with documentary proof of fling the First Appeal.

(iv) The Orders or decision or response, if any, from the First Appellate Authority against which the appeal or complaint is being preferred; (v) The documents relied upon and referred to in the appeal or complaint;

(vi) A certificate stating that the matters under appeal or complaint have not been previously filed, or are pending, with any court or tribunal or with any other authority;

(vii) An index of the documents referred to in the appeal or complaint; and

(viii) A list of dates briefly indicating in chronological order the progress of the matter up to the date of filing the appeal or complaint to be placed at the top of all the documents filed.

10. Service of copies of Appeal/Complaint :-

Before submitting an appeal or complaint to the Commission, the appellant or the complainant shall cause a copy of the appeal or complaint, as the case may be, to be served on the CPIO/PIO and the Appellate Authorities and shall submit a proof of such service to the Commission. Provided that if a complainant does not know the name, address and other particulars of the CPIO or of the First Appellate Authority and if he approaches the Commission under Section 18 of the Act, he shall cause a copy of his complaint petition to be served on the concerned Public Authority or the Head of the Office and proof of such service shall be annexed along with the complaint petition.

11. Presentation and scrutiny of appeal or complaint:-

(i) The Registrar shall receive any appeal or complaint petition addressed to the Commission and ensure that

(a) the appeal or the complaint, as the case may be, is submitted in prescribed format;

(b) that all its contents are duly verified by the appellant or the complainant, as the case may be;

(c) that the appeal or the complaint is in accordance with the Regulations.

(ii) The Registrar shall also ensure that the appeal or the complaint petition contains copies of all required documents such as

(i) RTI application ;

(ii) Receipt of the RTI Application;

(iii) Proof in regard to payment of fee/cost, if any;

(iv) Decision/reply etc. from the CPIO, if any;

(v) Appeal to the 1st Appellate Authority;

(vi) Decision of the 1st Appellate Authority, if any.

(iii) The Registrar shall scrutinize every appeal/complaint received and will ensure —

(a) that the appeal or the complaint petition is duly verified and required number of copies are submitted;

(b) That all the documents annexed are duly paginated and attested by the appellant or the complainant.

(c) That the copies of the documents filed and submitted are clear, distinct and legible;

(iv) That    the  Registrar will return any such appeal or the complaint if it does not meet the requirement or conform to the standard as set out above and permit its resubmission in proper form.

(v) The Registrar may reject any such appeal or complaint petition —

(a) if it is time-barred; or

(b) if it is otherwise inadmissible; or

(c) if it is not in accordance with these Regulations.

Provided that no such appeal or complaint petition shall be rejected by the Registry unless the concerned appellant or the complainant is given an opportunity of being heard. The decision of the Registrar in regard to the issue of maintainability of an appeal or a complaint shall be final.

(vi) All appeals and Complaints not rejected or returned as above and found in order shall be registered and a specific number will be allocated.

(vii) The Registrar or any other officer authorized by the Commission shall endorse on every appeal or complaint the date on which it is presented.

(viii) The appeals and complaints shall bear separate serial numbers so that they can be easily identified under separate heads. (ix) If any appeal or complaint is found to be defective and the defect noticed is formal in nature, the Registrar may allow the appellant or complainant to rectify the same in his presence or may allow two weeks time to rectify the defect. If the appeal or complaint has been received by post and found to be defective, the Registrar may communicate the defect(s) to the appellant or complainant and allow him two weeks time from the date of receipt of communication from the Registrar to rectify the defects. (x) If the appellant or complainant fails to rectify the defects within the time allowed in clause

(ix) above, the appeal or complaint shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.

(xi) An appeal or complaint which is not in order and is found to be defective or is not as per prescribed format is liable to be rejected.

Provided that the Registrar may, at his discretion, allow an appellant or complainant to file a fresh appeal or complaint in proper form.

12. Filing of Counter Statement by the Central Public Information Officer or the First Appellate Authority:-

After receipt of a copy of the appeal orcomplaint, the Central Public Information Officer or the First Appellate Authority or the Public Authority shall file counter statement along with documents, if any, pertaining to the case. A copy of the counter statement(s) so filed shall be served to the appellant or complainant by the CPIO, the First Appellate Authority or the Public Authority, as the case may be.

13. Posting of appeal or complaint before the Information Commissioner:-

(i) An appeal or a complaint, or a class or categories of appeals or complaints, shall be heard either by a Single Information Commissioner or a Division Bench of two Information Commissioners, or a Full Bench of three or more Information Commissioners, as decided by the Chief Information Commissioner by a special or general order issued for this purpose from time to time.

(ii) Where in the course of the hearing of an appeal or complaint or other proceeding before a Single Information Commissioner, the Commissioner considers that the matter should be dealt with by a Division or Full Bench, he shall refer the matter to the Chief Information Commissioner who may thereupon constitute such a Bench for the hearing and disposal of the matter.

(iii) Similarly, where during the course of the hearing of a matter before a Division Bench, the Bench considers that the matter should be dealt with by a Full Bench, or where a Full Bench considers that a matter should be dealt with by a larger Bench, it shall refer the matter to the Chief Information Commissioner who may thereupon constitute such a Bench for the hearing and disposal of the matter.

14. Amendment or withdrawal of an Appeal or Complaint:

The Commission may in its discretion allow a prayer for any amendment or withdrawal of an appeal or complaint during the course of its hearing if such a prayer is made by the appellant or complainant on an application made in writing. However, no such prayer may be entertained by the Commission after the matter has been finally heard or a decision or order has been pronounced by the Commission.

15. Personal presence of the appellant or complainant:-

(i) The appellant or the complainant, as the case may be, shall be informed of the date of hearing at lest seven clear days before that date.

(ii) The appellant or the complainant, as the case may be, may at his discretion be present in person or through his duly authorized representative at the time of hearing of the appeal or complaint by the Commission, or may opt not to be present.

(iii) Where the Commission is satisfied that circumstances exist due to which the appellant or the complainant is being prevented from attending the hearing of the Commission, the Commission may afford the appellant or the complainant, as the case may be, another opportunity of being heard before a final decision is taken or take any other appropriate action as it may deem fit.

(iv) The appellant or the complainant, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any person while presenting his case before the Commission and the person representing him may not be a legal practitioner.

(v) If an appellant or complainant at his discretion decides not to be present either personally or through his duly authorized representative during the hearing of an appeal or complaint before the Commission, the Commission may pronounce its decision or order in the matter ex parte,

16. Date of hearing to be notified:- The Commission shall notify the parties the date and place of hearing of the appeal or complaint in such manner as the Chief Information Commissioner may by general or special order direct.

17. Adjournment of Hearing:- The appellant or the complainant or any of the respondents may, for just and sufficient reasons, make an application for adjournment of the hearing. The Commission may consider the said application and pass such orders as it deems fit.

18. Evidence before the Commission: In deciding an appeal or a complaint, the Commission may:-

(i) receive oral or written evidence on oath or on affidavit from concerned person or persons;

(ii) peruse or inspect documents, public records or copies thereof;

(iii) inquire through authorized officer further details or facts;

(iv) examine or hear in person or receive evidence on affidavit from Central Public Information Officer, Central assistant Public Information Officer or such Senior Officer who decided the first appeal or such person or persons against whom the complaint is made as the case may be; or

(v) examine or hear or receive evidence on affidavit from a third party, or an intervener or any other person or persons, whose evidence is considered necessary or relevant.

19. Issue of summons:- Summons to the parties or to the witnesses for appearance or forproduction of documents or records or things shall be issued by theRegistrar under the authority of the Commission, and it shall be in suchform as may be prescribed by the Commission.

20. Conduct of an enquiry:- The Commission may entrust an enquiry in connection with any appeal or complaint pending before it to the Registrar or any other officer for the purpose and the Registrar or such other officer while conducting the enquiry shall have all the necessary powers including power to —

(i) summon and enforce attendance of persons;

(ii) compel production of documents or things;

(iii) administer oath and to take oral evidence or to receive affidavits or written evidence on solemn affirmation; (iv) inspect documents and require discovery of documents; and

(v) requisition any public record or documents from any public authority.

21. Award of costs by the Commission: The Commission may award such costs or compensation to the parties asit deems fit having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.

22. Communication of decisions and Orders:-

(i) Every decision or order of the Commission shall be signed and dated by the Commissioner or Commissioners who have heard the appeal or the complaint or have decided the matter.

(ii) Every decision/order of the Commission may either be pronounced in one of the sittings of the Commission, or may be placed on its web site, or may be communicated to the parties under authentication by the Registrar or any other officer authorized by the Commission in this regard.

(iii) Every such decision or order, whenever pronounced by a Single Information Commissioner or by a Division Bench or by a Full Bench of three or more Information Commissioners, shall be deemed to be the decision or order by the Commission under the

23. Finality of Decision:

(1) A decision or an order once pronounced by the Commission shall be final.

(2) An appellant or a complainant or a respondent may, however, make an application to the Chief Information Commissioner for special leave to appeal or review of a decision or order of the case and mention the grounds for such a request;

(3) The Chief Information Commissioner, on receipt of such a request, may consider and decide the matter as he thinks fit.

24. Abatement of an Appeal/Complaint: The proceedings pending before the Commission shall abate on the deathof the appellant or complainant.  

CHAPTER-V:

MISCELLANEOUS  

25. Seal and Emblem:- The Official Seal and Emblem of the Commission shall be such as the Commission may specify.

26. Language of the Commission:-

(i) An appeal or a complaint may be filed in English or in Hindi and all the documents or copies thereof shall also be filed in English or in Hindi. Where a document, in original, is in a language other than English or in Hindi, a certified authenticated copy of its translated version in English or in Hindi shall also be filed along with the original. This shall also apply in the case of a counter statement, rejoinder, reply or any other document or documents filed before the Commission.

(ii) The proceedings of the Commission shall be conducted in English or in Hindi.

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PAYMENT OF FEE UNDER THE RTI ACT BY INDIAN POSTAL ORDER, ETC.

No.F.10/9/2008-IR

Government of India

Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pension

Department of Personnel & Training

 

North Block, New Delhi

Dated: the 5th December, 2008

 

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

  Subject: Payment of fee under the RTI Act by demand draft/bankers cheque/Indian Postal Order.

The undersigned is directed to say that the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 provide that a person seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005 can make payment of fee for obtaining information by cash or demand draft or banker’s cheque or Indian postal order. According to the rules the demand draft /banker’s cheque /IPO should be payable to the Accounts Officer of the concerned public authority. It was brought to the notice of this Department that some public authorities did not accept demand drafts /banker’s cheques /Indian Postal Orders drawn in the name of their Accounts Officer and insisted that these should be drawn in the name of Drawing and Disbursing Officer or the Under Secretary or the Section Officer etc. This Department vide OM No.l/2/2007-IR dated 23rd March, 2007 issued instructions that the demand drafts /banker’s cheques /IPOs made payable to the Accounts Officers of the public authority should not be denied. In spite of the provisions in the rules and instructions of this ‘Department, some public authorities still refuse to accept demand drafts /banker’s cheques /IPOs drawn in the name of the Accounts Officer of the public authority.

2. Refusal to accept an application on the ground that the demand draft /banker’s cheque /IPO submitted by the applicant has been drawn in the name of the Accounts Officer may amount to refusal to accept the application. It may result into imposition of penalty by the Central Information Commission on the concerned Central Public Information Officer under Section 20 of the Act. All the public authorities should, therefore, ensure that payment of fee by demand draft /banker’s cheque /IPO made payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority is not denied.

Sd/- 

(K.G. Verma)

Director

Tel: 23092158

  1. All the Ministries / Departments of the Government of India                 2.Union Public Service Commission/ Lok Sabha Sectt./ Rajya Sabha Secretariat/ Cabinet Secretariat/ Central Vigilance Commission! President’s Secretariat/  Vice-President’s  Secretariat/  Prime Minister’s Office / Planning Commission/Election Commission.

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THE WHISTLE BLOWERS PROTECTION ACT,2011

THE WHISTLE BLOWERS PROTECTION ACT, 2011 NO. 17 OF 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                       [9th May, 2014.]

AN ACT to establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion against any public servant and to inquire or cause an inquiry into such disclosure and to provide adequatesafeguards against victimisation of the person making such complaint and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-second Year of the Republic of India as follows:— CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY

Short title,extent and commencement. 1. (1) This Act may be called the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011. (2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. (3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint; and different dates may be appointed for different provisions  of this Act and any reference in any provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision.

Provisions of this Act not to apply to Special Protection Group. 2. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to the armed forces of the Union, being the Special Protection Group constituted under the Special Protection Group Act, 1988 (34 of 1988). Definitions. 3. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,— (a) “Central Vigilance Commission” means the Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003; (b) “Competent Authority” means— (i) in relation to a Member of the Union Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister; (ii) in relation to a Member of Parliament, other than a Minister, the Chairman of the Council of States if such Member is a Member of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People if such Member is a Member of the House of the People, as the case may be; (iii) in relation to a Member of the Council of Ministers in a State or Union  territory, the Chief Minister of the State or Union territory, as the case may be; (iv) in relation to a Member of Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly of a State or Union territory, other than a Minister, the Chairman of the Legislative Council if such Member is a Member of the Council or the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly if such Member is a Member of the Assembly, as the case may be; (v) in relation to— (A) any Judge (except a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court) including any person empowered by law to discharge, whether by himself or as a member of any body of persons, any adjudicatory functions; or (B) any person authorised by a court of justice to perform any duty, in connection with the administration of justice, including a liquidator, receiver or commissioner appointed by such court; or (C) any arbitrator or other person to whom any cause or matter has been referred for decision or report by a court of justice or by a competent public authority, the High Court; (vi) in relation to— (A) any person in the service or pay of the Central Government or remunerated by the Central Government by way of fees or commission for the performance of any public duty except Ministers, Members of Parliament and members or persons referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) or clause (d) of article 33 of the Constitution, or in the service or pay of a society or local authority or any corporation established by or under any Central Act, or an authority or a body owned or controlled or aided by the Central Government or a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956, owned or controlled by the Central Government; or (B) any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is empowered to prepare, publish, maintain or revise an electoral roll or to conduct an election or part of an election in relation to elections to Parliament or a State Legislature; or (C) any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is authorised or required to perform any public duty (except Ministers and Members of Parliament); or (D) any person who is the president, secretary or other office-bearer of a registered co-operative society engaged in agriculture, industry, trade or banking, receiving or having received any financial aid from the Central Government or from any corporation established by or under a Central Act, or any authority or body or a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 owned or controlled or aided by the Central Government; or (E) any person who is a chairman, member or employee of any Central Service Commission or Board, by whatever name called, or a member of any selection committee appointed by such Commission or Board for the conduct of any examination or making any selection on behalf of such Commission or Board; or (F) any person who is a Vice-Chancellor or member of any governing body, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, reader, lecturer or any other teacher or employee, by whatever designation called, of any University established by a Central Act or established or controlled or funded by the Central Government or any person whose services have been availed of by such University or any such other public authority in connection with holding or conducting examinations; or (G) any person who is an office-bearer or an employee of an educational, scientific, social, cultural or other institution, in whatever manner established, receiving or having received any financial assistance from the Central Government or any local or other public authority, the Central Vigilance Commission or any other authority, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf under this Act; (vii) in relation to— (A) any person in the service or pay of the State Government or remunerated by the State Government by way of fees or commission, for the performance of any public duty except Ministers, Members of Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly of the State, or in the service or pay of a society or local authority or any corporation established by or under a Provincial or State Act, or an authority or a body owned or controlled or aided by the State Government or a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956, owned or controlled by the State Government; or (B) any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is empowered to prepare, publish, maintain or revise an electoral roll or to conduct an election or part of an election in relation to municipality or Panchayats or other local body in the State; or (C) any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is authorised or required to perform any public duty in relation to the affairs of the State Government (except Ministers and Members of Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly of the State); or (D) any person who is the president, secretary or other office-bearer of a registered co-operative society engaged in agriculture, industry, trade or banking, receiving or having received any financial aid from the State Government or from any corporation established by or under a Provincial or State Act, or any authority or body or a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 owned or controlled or aided by the State Government; or (E) any person who is a chairman, member or employee of any State Service Commission or Board, by whatever name called, or a member of any selection committee appointed by such Commission or Board for the conduct of any examination or making any selection on behalf of such Commission or Board; or (F) any person who is a Vice-Chancellor or member of any governing body, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, reader, lecturer or any other teacher or employee, by whatever designation called, of any University established by a Provincial or State Act or established or controlled or funded by the State Government and any person whose services have been availed of by such University or any such other public authority in connection with holding or conducting examinations; or (G) any person who is an office-bearer or an employee of an educational, scientific, social, cultural or other institution, in whatever manner established, receiving or having received any financial assistance from the State Government or any local or other public authority, the State Vigilance Commission, if any, or any officer of the State Government or any other authority, as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf under this Act; (viii) in relation to members or persons referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) or clause (d) of article 33 of the Constitution, any authority or authorities as the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, having jurisdiction in respect thereof, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf under this Act; (c) “complainant” means any person who makes a complaint relating to disclosure under this Act; (d) “disclosure” means a complaint relating to,— (i) an attempt to commit or commission of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; (ii) wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion by virtue of which demonstrable loss is caused to the Government or demonstrable wrongful gain accrues to the public servant or to any third party; (iii) attempt to commit or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant, made in writing or by electronic mail or electronic mail message, against the public servant and includes public interest disclosure referred to in sub-section (2) of section 4; (e) “electronic mail” or “electronic mail message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on any computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message; (f) “Government company” means a company referred to in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956; (g) “notification” means a notification published in the Gazette of India or, as the case may be, the Official Gazette of a State; (h) “public authority” means any authority, body or institution falling within the jurisdiction of the Competent Authority; 49 of 1988. 1 of 1956. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 5 (i) “public servant” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (c) of section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 but shall not include a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Judge of a High Court; (j) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the Central Government and the State Government, as the case may be, under this Act; (k) “regulations” means the regulations made by the Competent Authority under this Act. CHAPTER II PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE 4. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, any public servant or any other person including any non-governmental organisation, may make a public interest disclosure before the Competent Authority. (2) Any disclosure made under this Act shall be treated as public interest disclosure for the purposes of this Act and shall be made before the Competent Authority and the complaint making the disclosure shall, on behalf of the Competent Authority, be received by such authority as may be specified by regulations made by the Competent Authority. (3) Every disclosure shall be made in good faith and the person making disclosure shall make a personal declaration stating that he reasonably believes that the information disclosed by him and allegation contained therein is substantially true. (4) Every disclosure shall be made in writing or by electronic mail or electronic mail message in accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed and contain full particulars and be accompanied by supporting documents, or other materials, if any. (5) The Competent Authority may, if it deems fit, call for further information or particulars from the person making the disclosure. (6) No action shall be taken on public interest disclosure by the Competent Authority if the disclosure does not indicate the identity of the complainant or public servant making public interest disclosure or the identity of the complainant or public servant is found incorrect or false. CHAPTER III INQUIRY IN RELATION TO PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE 5. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Competent Authority shall, on receipt of a public interest disclosure under section 4,— (a) ascertain from the complainant or the public servant whether he was the person or the public servant who made the disclosure or not; (b) conceal the indentity of the complainant unless the complainant himself has revealed his identity to any other office or authority while making public interest disclosure or in his complaint or otherwise. (2) The Competent Authority shall, upon receipt of the complaint and concealing the identity of the complainant, or the public servant in the first instance, make discreet inquiry, in such manner and within such time as may be prescribed, to ascertain whether there is any basis for proceeding further to investigate the disclosure. (3) If the Competent Authority, either as a result of the discreet inquiry, or on the basis of the disclosure itself without any inquiry, is of the opinion that the disclosure requires to be investigated, it shall seek comments or explanation or report from the Head of the Department of the organisation or authority, board or corporation concerned or office concerned within such time as may be specified by it. Requirement of public interest disclosure. Powers and functions of Competent Authority on receipt of public interest disclosure. 49 of 1988. 19 of 1923. 6 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— (4) While seeking comments or explanations or report referred to in sub-section (3), the Competent Authority shall not reveal the identity of the complainant or the public servant and direct the Head of the Department of the organisation concerned or office concerned not to reveal the identity of the complainant or public servant: Provided that if the Competent Authority is of the opinion that it has, for the purpose of seeking comments or explanation or report from them under sub-section (3) on the public disclosure, become necessary to reveal the identity of the complainant or public servant to the Head of the Department of the organisation or authority, board or corporation concerned or office concerned, the Competent Authority may, with the prior written consent of the complainant or public servant, reveal the identity of the complainant or public servant to such Head of the Department of the organisation or authority, board or corporation concerned or office concerned for the said purpose: Provided further that in case the complainant or public servant does not agree to his name being revealed to the Head of the Department, in that case, the complainant or public servant, as the case may be, shall provide all documentary evidence in support of his complaint to the Competent Authority. (5) The Head of the organisation or office concerned shall not directly or indirectly reveal the identity of the complainant or public servant who made the disclosure. (6) The Competent Authority, if after conducting an inquiry, is of the opinion that— (a) the facts and allegations contained in the disclosure are frivolous or vexatious; or (b) there are no sufficient grounds for proceeding with the inquiry, it shall close the matter. (7) After receipt of the comments or explanations or report referred to in sub-section (3), if the Competent Authority is of the opinion that such comments or explanations or report reveals either wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion or substantiates allegations of corruption, it shall recommend to the public authority to take any one or more of the following measures, namely:— (i) initiating proceedings against the concerned public servant; (ii) taking appropriate administrative steps for redressing the loss caused to the Government as a result of the corrupt practice or misuse of office or misuse of discretion, as the case may be; (iii) recommend to the appropriate authority or agency for initiation of criminal proceedings under the relevant laws for the time being in force, if so warranted by the facts and circumstances of the case; (iv) recommend for taking of corrective measures; (v) take any other measures not falling under clauses (i) to (iv) which may be necessary for the purpose of this Act. (8) The public authority to whom a recommendation is made under sub-section (7) shall take a decision on such recommendation within three months of receipt of such recommendation, or within such extended period not exceeding three months, as the Competent Authority may allow on a request made by the public authority: Provided that in case the public authority does not agree with the recommendation of the Competent Authority, it shall record the reasons for such disagreement. (9) The Competent Authority shall, after making an inquiry, inform the complainant or public servant about the action taken on the complaint and the final outcome thereof: SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 7 Provided that in a case where, after making an inquiry, the Competent Authority decides to close the case, it shall, before passing the order for closure of the case, provide an opportunity of being heard to the complainant, if the complainant so desires. 6. (1) If any matter specified or an issue raised in a disclosure has been determined by a Court or Tribunal authorised to determine the issue, after consideration of the matters specified or issue raised in the disclosure, the Competent Authority shall not take notice of the disclosure to the extent that the disclosure seeks to reopen such issue. (2) The Competent Authority shall not entertain or inquire into any disclosure— (a) in respect of which a formal and public inquiry has been ordered under the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1850; or (b) in respect of a matter which has been referred for inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. (3) The Competent Authority shall not investigate, any disclosure involving an allegation, if the complaint is made after the expiry of seven years from the date on which the action complained against is alleged to have taken place. (4) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as empowering the Competent Authority to question, in any inquiry under this Act, any bona fide action or bona fide discretion (including administrative or statutory discretion) exercised in discharge of duty by the employee. CHAPTER IV POWERS OF COMPETENT AUTHORITY 7. (1) Without prejudice to the powers conferred upon the Competent Authority under any other law for the time being in force, the Competent Authority, may require, for the purpose of any inquiry any public servant or any other person who in its opinion shall be able to furnish information or produce documents relevant to the inquiry or assist in the inquiry, to furnish any such information or produce any such document as may be necessary for the said purpose. (2) For the purpose of any such inquiry (including the preliminary inquiry), the Competent Authority shall have all the powers of a Civil Court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:— (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (b) requiring the discovery and production of any document; (c) receiving evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; (e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents; (f) such other matters as may be prescribed. (3) The Competent Authority shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purpose of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and every proceeding before the Competent Authority shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code. (4) Subject to the provisions of section 8, no obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction upon the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to the Government or any public servant, whether imposed by the Official Secrets Act, 1923 or any other law for the time being in force, shall be claimed by any public servant in the proceedings before the Competent Authority or any person or agency authorised by it in writing and the Government Matters not to be inquired by Competent Authority. 37 of 1850. 60 of 1952. Powers of Competent Authority. 5 of 1908. 2 of 1974. 45 of 1860. 19 of 1923. 8 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— or any public servant shall not be entitled in relation to any such inquiry, to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by any enactment or by any rules made thereunder: Provided that the Competent Authority, while exercising such powers of the Civil Court, shall take steps as necessary to ensure that the identity of the person making complaint has not been revealed or compromised. 8. (1) No person shall be required or be authorised by virtue of provisions contained in this Act to furnish any such information or answer any such question or produce any document or information or render any other assistance in the inquiry under this Act if such question or document or information is likely to prejudicially affect the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign State, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence,— (a) as might involve the disclosure of proceedings of the Cabinet of the Union Government or any Committee of the Cabinet; (b) as might involve the disclosure of proceedings of the Cabinet of the State Government or any Committee of that Cabinet, and for the purpose of this sub-section, a certificate issued by the Secretary to the Government of India or the Secretary to the State Government, as the case may be, or, any authority so authorised by the Central or State Government certifying that any information, answer or portion of a document is of the nature specified in clause (a) or clause (b), shall be binding and conclusive. (2) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1), no person shall be compelled for the purposes of inquiry under this Act to give any evidence or produce any document which he could not be compelled to give or produce in proceedings before a court. 9. (1) Every public authority shall, for the purposes of dealing or inquiry into the disclosures sent to it under sub-section (3) of section 5, create an appropriate machinery for the said purpose. (2) The Competent Authority shall exercise superintendence over the working of machinery created under sub-section (1) for the purposes of dealing or inquiry into the disclosures and give such directions for its proper functioning, from time to time, as it may consider necessary. 10. For the purpose of making discreet inquiry or obtaining information from the organisation concerned, the Competent Authority shall be authorised to take assistance of the Delhi Special Police Establishment or the police authorities, or any other authority as may be considered necessary, to render all assistance to complete the inquiry within the prescribed time pursuant to the disclosure received by the Competent Authority. CHAPTER V PROTECTION TO THE PERSONS MAKING DISCLOSURE 11. (1) The Central Government shall ensure that no person or a public servant who has made a disclosure under this Act is victimised by initiation of any proceedings or otherwise merely on the ground that such person or a public servant had made a disclosure or rendered assistance in inquiry under this Act. (2) If any person is being victimised or likely to be victimised on the ground that he had filed a complaint or made disclosure or rendered assistance in inquiry under this Act, he may file an application before the Competent Authority seeking redress in the matter, and such authority shall take such action, as deemed fit and may give suitable directions to the concerned public servant or the public authority, as the case may be, to protect such person from being victimised or avoid his victimisation: Certain matters exempt from disclosure. Superintendence of Competent Authority over appropriate machinery. Competent Authority to take assistance of police authorities, etc., in certain cases. Safeguards against victimisation. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 9 Provided that the Competent Authority shall, before giving any such direction to the public authority or public servant, give an opportunity of hearing to the complainant and the public authority or public servant, as the case may be: Provided further that in any such hearing, the burden of proof that the alleged action on the part of the public authority is not victimisation, shall lie on the public authority. (3) Every direction given under sub-section (2) by the Competent Authority shall be binding upon the public servant or the public authority against whom the allegation of victimisation has been proved. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the power to give directions under sub-section (2), in relation to a public servant, shall include the power to direct the restoration of the public servant making the disclosure, to the status quo ante. (5) Any person who wilfully does not comply with the direction of the Competent Authority under sub-section (2), shall be liable to a penalty which may extend up to thirty thousand rupees. 12. If the Competent Authority either on the application of the complainant, or witnesses, or on the basis of information gathered, is of the opinion that either the complainant or public servant or the witnesses or any person rendering assistance for inquiry under this Act need protection, the Competent Authority shall issue appropriate directions to the concerned Government authorities (including police) which shall take necessary steps, through its agencies, to protect such complainant or public servant or persons concerned. 13. The Competent Authority shall, notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, conceal, as required under this Act, the identity of the complainant and the documents or information furnished by him, for the purposes of enquiry under this Act, unless so decided otherwise by the Competent Authority itself or it became necessary to reveal or produce the same by virtue of the order of the court. 14. The Competent Authority, at any time after the making of disclosure by the complainant or public servant, if it is of the opinion that any corrupt practice required to be stopped during the continuation of any inquiry for the said purpose may pass such interim orders as it may deem fit, to prevent the immediate stoppage of such practice. CHAPTER VI OFFENCES AND PENALTIES 15. Where the Competent Authority, at the time of examining the report or explanations or report referred to in sub-section (3) of section 5 on the complaint submitted by organisation or official concerned, is of the opinion that the organisation or official concerned, without any reasonable cause, has not furnished the report within the specified time or mala fidely refused to submit the report or knowingly given incomplete, incorrect or misleading or false report or destroyed record or information which was the subject of the disclosure or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the report, it shall impose— (a) where the organisation or official concerned, without any reasonable cause, has not furnished the report within the specified time or mala fidely refused to submit the report, a penalty which may extend to two hundred fifty rupees for each day till report is furnished, so, however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed fifty thousand rupees; (b) where the organisation or official concerned, has knowingly given incomplete, incorrect or misleading or false report or destroyed record or information which was the subject of the disclosure or obstructed in any manner the furnishing of the report, a penalty which may extend to fifty thousand rupees: Provided that no penalty shall be imposed against any person unless he has been given an opportunity of being heard. 16. Any person, who negligently or mala fidely reveals the identity of a complainant shall, without prejudice to the other provisions of this Act, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and also to fine which may extend up to fifty thousand rupees. Protection of witnesses and other persons. Protection of identity of complainant. Penalty for furnishing incomplete or incorrect or misleading comments or explanation or report. Power to pass interim orders. Penalty for revealing identity of complainant. 10 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— 17. Any person who makes any disclosure mala fidely and knowingly that it was incorrect or false or misleading shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to two years and also to fine which may extend up to thirty thousand rupees. 18. (1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of Government, the Head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable, such officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. 19. (1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he has exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to, any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section,— (a) “company” means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and (b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm. 20. Any person aggrieved by any order of the Competent Authority relating to imposition of penalty under section 14 or section 15 or section 16 may prefer an appeal to the High Court within a period of sixty days from the date of the order appealed against: Provided that the High Court may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of sixty days, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, the “High Court” means the High Court within whose jurisdiction the cause of action arose. 21. No Civil Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any matter which the Competent Authority is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act. 22. (1) No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act or the rules or regulations made thereunder, save on a complaint made by the Competent Authority or any officer or person authorised by it. Punishment for false or frivolous disclosure. Punishment to Head of Department in certain cases. Offences by companies. Appeal to High Court. Bar of jurisdiction. Court to take cognizance. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 11 (2) No court inferior to that of a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or a Chief Judicial Magistrate shall try any offence punishable under this Act. CHAPTER VII MISCELLANEOUS 23. (1) The Competent Authority shall prepare a consolidated annual report of the performance of its activities in such form as may be prescribed and forward it to the Central Government or State Government, as the case may be. (2) On receipt of the annual report under sub-section (1), the Central Government or State Government, as the case may be, shall cause a copy thereof to be laid before each House of Parliament, or the State Legislature, as the case may be: Provided that where any other law for the time being in force provides preparing of such annual report by the Competent Authority, then the said annual report shall contain a separate part on the performance of activities under this Act by the Competent Authority. 24. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Competent Authority or against any officer, employees, agency or person acting on its behalf, in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act. 25. (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:— (a) the procedure for disclosure by writing or appropriate electronic means under sub-section (4) of section 4; (b) the manner in which and the time within which the discreet inquiry shall be made by the Competent Authority under sub-section (2) of section 5; (c) the additional matter in respect of which the Competent Authority may exercise the powers of a Civil Court under clause (f) of sub-section (2) of section 7; (d) the form of annual report under sub-section (1) of section 23; (e) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed. 26. The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. 27. The Competent Authority may, with the previous approval of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, by notification in the Official Gazette, make regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder to provide for all matters for which provision is expedient for the purposes of giving effect to the provisions of this Act. 28. Every notification issued and every rule made by the Central Government and every regulation made by the Competent Authority under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is issued or made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the notification or the rule or the regulation, or both Houses agree that the notification or the rule or the regulation should not be made, the notification or the rule or the regulation shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that notification or rule or regulation. Report on disclosures. Protection of action taken in good faith. Power of Central Government to make rules. Power of State Government to make rules. Power to make regulations. Notification and rules to be laid before Parliament. 29. Every notification issued by a State Government and every rule made by a State Government and every regulation made by the Competent Authority under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is issued, before the State Legislature. 30. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of the Act, the Central Government may, by order, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, remove the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made after the expiry of a period of three years from the date of the commencement of this Act. (2) Every order made under this section shall, as soon as may be after it is made, be laid before each House of Parliament. 31. (1) The Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training) Resolution No. 371/12/2002-AVD-III dated the 21st April, 2004 as amended vide Resolution of even number, dated the 29th April, 2004 is hereby repealed. (2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the said Resolution be deemed to have been done or taken under this Act. ————— DR. SANJAY SINGH, Additional Secretary to the Govt. of India. ———— CORRIGENDUM In the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013 (23 of 2013), as published in a Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Session 1, issue No. 33, dated the 19th September, 2013, at page 3, line 35, for “preson”, read “person”. Notification issued and rules made by State Government to be laid before State Legislature. Power to remove difficulties. Repeal and savings. GMGIPMRND—228GI(S3)—12-05-2014. PRINTED BY THE GENERAL MANAGER, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PRESS, MINTO ROAD, NEW DELHI AND PUBLISHED BY THE CONTROLLER OF PUBLICATIONS, DELHI—2014. 12 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— SEC. 1]

THE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS ACT, 2013
THE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS ACT, 2013 (NO. 1 OF 2014) [1st January, 2014.] An Act to provide for the establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. WHEREAS the Constitution of India established a Democratic Republic to ensure justice for all; AND WHEREAS India has ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption; AND WHEREAS the Government’s commitment to clean and responsive governance has to be reflected in effective bodies to contain and punish acts of corruption; NOW, THEREFORE, it is expedient to enact a law, for more effective implementation of the said Convention and to provide for prompt and fair investigation and prosecution in cases of corruption. jftLVªh lañ Mhñ ,yñ—(,u)04@0007@2003—14 REGISTERED NO. DL—(N)04/0007/2003—14 vlk/kkj.k EXTRAORDINARY Hkkx II — [k.M 1 PART II—Section 1 izkf/kdkj ls izdkf’kr PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY lañ 1] ubZ fnYyh] cq/kokj] tuojh 1] 2014@ikS”k 11] 1935 ¼’kd½ No. 1] NEW DELHI, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014/PAUSA 11, 1935 (SAKA) bl Hkkx esa fHkUu i`”B la[;k nh tkrh gS ftlls fd ;g vyx ladyu ds :i esa j[kk tk ldsA Separate paging is given to this Part in order that it may be filed as a separate compilation. MINISTRY OF LAW AND JUSTICE (Legislative Department) New Delhi, the 1st January, 2014/Pausa 11, 1935 (Saka) The following Act of Parliament received the assent of the President on the 1st January, 2014, and is hereby published for general information:— 2 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows:— PART I PRELIMINARY 1. (1) This Act may be called the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. (2) It extends to the whole of India. (3) It shall apply to public servants in and outside India. (4) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. PART II LOKPAL FOR THE UNION CHAPTER I DEFINITIONS 2. (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,— (a) “bench” means a bench of the Lokpal; (b) “Chairperson” means the Chairperson of the Lokpal; (c) “competent authority”, in relation to— (i) the Prime Minister, means the House of the People; (ii) a member of the Council of Ministers, means the Prime Minister; (iii) a member of Parliament other than a Minister, means— (A) in the case of a member of the Council of States, the Chairman of the Council; and (B) in the case of a member of the House of the People, the Speaker of the House; (iv) an officer in the Ministry or Department of the Central Government, means the Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department under which the officer is serving; (v) a chairperson or members of any body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or autonomous body (by whatever name called) established or constituted under any Act of Parliament or wholly or partly financed by the Central Government or controlled by it, means the Minister in charge of the administrative Ministry of such body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or autonomous body; (vi) an officer of any body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or autonomous body (by whatever name called) established or constituted under any Act of Parliament or wholly or partly financed by the Central Government or controlled by it, means the head of such body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or autonomous body; (vii) in any other case not falling under sub-clauses (i) to (vi) above, means such Department or authority as the Central Government may, by notification, specify: Short title, extent, application and commencement. Definitions. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 3 Provided that if any person referred to in sub-clause (v) or sub-clause (vi) is also a member of Parliament, then, the competent authority shall be— (A) in case such member is a member of the Council of States, the Chairman of the Council; and (B) in case such member is a member of the House of the People, the Speaker of the House; (d) “Central Vigilance Commission” means the Central Vigilance Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003; (e) “complaint” means a complaint, made in such form as may be prescribed, alleging that a public servant has committed an offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; (f) “Delhi Special Police Establishment” means the Delhi Special Police Establishment constituted under sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946; (g) “investigation” means an investigation as defined under clause (h) of section 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; (h) “Judicial Member” means a Judicial Member of the Lokpal; (i) “Lokpal” means the body established under section 3; (j) “Member” means a Member of the Lokpal; (k) “Minister” means a Union Minister but does not include the Prime Minister; (l) “notification” means notification published in the Official Gazette and the expression “notify” shall be construed accordingly; (m) “preliminary inquiry” means an inquiry conducted under this Act; (n) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act; (o) “public servant” means a person referred to in clauses (a) to (h) of sub-section (1) of section 14 but does not include a public servant in respect of whom the jurisdiction is exercisable by any court or other authority under the Army Act, 1950, the Air Force Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957 and the Coast Guard Act, 1978 or the procedure is applicable to such public servant under those Acts; (p) “regulations” means regulations made under this Act; (q) “rules” means rules made under this Act; (r) “Schedule” means a Schedule appended to this Act; (s) “Special Court” means the court of a Special Judge appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. (2) The words and expressions used herein and not defined in this Act but defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act. (3) Any reference in this Act to any other Act or provision thereof which is not in force in any area to which this Act applies shall be construed to have a reference to the corresponding Act or provision thereof in force in such area. 45 of 2003. 49 of 1988. 25 of 1946. 45 of 1950. 46 of 1950. 62 of 1957. 30 of 1978. 49 of 1988. 2 of 1974. 49 of 1988. 4 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— CHAPTER II ESTABLISHMENT OF LOKPAL 3. (1) On and from the commencement of this Act, there shall be established, for the purpose of this Act, a body to be called the “Lokpal”. (2) The Lokpal shall consist of— (a) a Chairperson, who is or has been a Chief Justice of India or is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or an eminent person who fulfils the eligibility specified in clause (b) of sub-section (3); and (b) such number of Members, not exceeding eight out of whom fifty per cent. shall be Judicial Members: Provided that not less than fifty per cent. of the Members of the Lokpal shall be from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and women. (3) A person shall be eligible to be appointed,— (a) as a Judicial Member if he is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or is or has been a Chief Justice of a High Court; (b) as a Member other than a Judicial Member, if he is a person of impeccable integrity and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than twenty-five years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management. (4) The Chairperson or a Member shall not be— (i) a member of Parliament or a member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory; (ii) a person convicted of any offence involving moral turptitude; (iii) a person of less than forty-five years of age, on the date of assuming office as the Chairperson or Member, as the case may be; (iv) a member of any Panchayat or Municipality; (v) a person who has been removed or dismissed from the service of the Union or a State, and shall not hold any office of trust or profit (other than his office as the Chairperson or a Member) or be affiliated with any political party or carry on any business or practise any profession and, accordingly, before he enters upon his office, a person appointed as the Chairperson or a Member, as the case may be, shall, if— (a) he holds any office of trust or profit, resign from such office; or (b) he is carrying on any business, sever his connection with the conduct and management of such business; or (c) he is practising any profession, cease to practise such profession. 4. (1) The Chairperson and Members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of a Selection Committee consisting of— (a) the Prime Minister—Chairperson; (b) the Speaker of the House of the People—Member; (c) the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People—Member; Establishment of Lokpal. Appointment of Chairperson and Members on recommendations of Selection Committee. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 5 (d) the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him—Member; (e) one eminent jurist, as recommended by the Chairperson and Members referred to in clauses (a) to (d) above, to be nominated by the President—Member. (2) No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in the Selection Committee. (3) The Selection Committee shall for the purposes of selecting the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal and for preparing a panel of persons to be considered for appointment as such, constitute a Search Committee consisting of at least seven persons of standing and having special knowledge and expertise in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, policy making, finance including insurance and banking, law and management or in any other matter which, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, may be useful in making the selection of the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal: Provided that not less than fifty per cent. of the members of the Search Committee shall be from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and women: Provided further that the Selection Committee may also consider any person other than the persons recommended by the Search Committee. (4) The Selection Committee shall regulate its own procedure in a transparent manner for selecting the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal. (5) The term of the Search Committee referred to in sub-section (3), the fees and allowances payable to its members and the manner of selection of panel of names shall be such as may be prescribed. 5. The President shall take or cause to be taken all necessary steps for the appointment of a new Chairperson and Members at least three months before the expiry of the term of the Chairperson or Member, as the case may be, in accordance with the procedure laid down in this Act. 6. The Chairperson and every Member shall, on the recommendations of the Selection Committee, be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and hold office as such for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier: Provided that he may— (a) by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office; or (b) be removed from his office in the manner provided in section 37. 7. The salary, allowances and other conditions of service of— (i) the Chairperson shall be the same as those of the Chief Justice of India; (ii) other Members shall be the same as those of a Judge of the Supreme Court: Provided that if the Chairperson or a Member is, at the time of his appointment, in receipt of pension (other than disability pension) in respect of any previous service under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, his salary in respect of service as the Chairperson or, as the case may be, as a Member, be reduced— (a) by the amount of that pension; and (b) if he has, before such appointment, received, in lieu of a portion of the pension due to him in respect of such previous service, the commuted value thereof, by the amount of that portion of the pension: Filling of vacancies of Chairperson or Members. Term of office of Chairperson and Members. Salary, allowances and other conditions of service of Chairperson and Members. 6 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— Provided further that the salary, allowances and pension payable to, and other conditions of service of, the Chairperson or a Member shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. 8. (1) On ceasing to hold office, the Chairperson and every Member shall be ineligible for— (i) reappointment as the Chairperson or a Member of the Lokpal; (ii) any diplomatic assignment, appointment as administrator of a Union territory and such other assignment or appointment which is required by law to be made by the President by warrant under his hand and seal; (iii) further employment to any other office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of a State; (iv) contesting any election of President or Vice-President or Member of either House of Parliament or Member of either House of a State Legislature or Municipality or Panchayat within a period of five years from the date of relinquishing the post. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a Member shall be eligible to be appointed as a Chairperson, if his total tenure as Member and Chairperson does not exceed five years. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, it is hereby clarified that where the Member is appointed as the Chairperson, his term of office shall not be more than five years in aggregate as the Member and the Chairperson. 9. (1) In the event of occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the Chairperson by reason of his death, resignation or otherwise, the President may, by notification, authorise the senior-most Member to act as the Chairperson until the appointment of a new Chairperson to fill such vacancy. (2) When the Chairperson is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence on leave or otherwise, the senior-most Member available, as the President may, by notification, authorise in this behalf, shall discharge the functions of the Chairperson until the date on which the Chairperson resumes his duties. 10. (1) There shall be a Secretary to the Lokpal in the rank of Secretary to Government of India, who shall be appointed by the Chairperson from a panel of names sent by the Central Government. (2) There shall be a Director of Inquiry and a Director of Prosecution not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India or equivalent, who shall be appointed by the Chairperson from a panel of names sent by the Central Government. (3) The appointment of officers and other staff of the Lokpal shall be made by the Chairperson or such Member or officer of Lokpal as the Chairperson may direct: Provided that the President may by rule require that the appointment in respect of any post or posts as may be specified in the rule, shall be made after consultation with the Union Public Service Commission. (4) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service of Secretary and other officers and staff of the Lokpal shall be such as may be specified by regulations made by the Lokpal for the purpose: Provided that the regulations made under this sub-section shall, so far as they relate to salaries, allowances, leave or pensions, require the approval of the President. Restriction on employment by Chairperson and Members after ceasing to hold office. Member to act as Chairperson or to discharge his functions in certain circumstances. Secretary, other officers and staff of Lokpal. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 7 CHAPTER III INQUIRY WING 11. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the Lokpal shall constitute an Inquiry Wing headed by the Director of Inquiry for the purpose of conducting preliminary inquiry into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988: Provided that till such time the Inquiry Wing is constituted by the Lokpal, the Central Government shall make available such number of officers and other staff from its Ministries or Departments, as may be required by the Lokpal, for conducting preliminary inquiries under this Act. (2) For the purposes of assisting the Lokpal in conducting a preliminary inquiry under this Act, the officers of the Inquiry Wing not below the rank of the Under Secretary to the Government of India, shall have the same powers as are conferred upon the Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal under section 27. CHAPTER IV PROSECUTION WING 12. (1) The Lokpal shall, by notification, constitute a Prosecution Wing headed by the Director of Prosecution for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act: Provided that till such time the Prosecution Wing is constituted by the Lokpal, the Central Government shall make available such number of officers and other staff from its Ministries or Departments, as may be required by the Lokpal, for conducting prosecution under this Act. (2) The Director of Prosecution shall, after having been so directed by the Lokpal, file a case in accordance with the findings of investigation report, before the Special Court and take all necessary steps in respect of the prosecution of public servants in relation to any offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. (3) The case under sub-section (2), shall be deemed to be a report, filed on completion of investigation, referred to in section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. CHAPTER V EXPENSES OF LOKPAL TO BE CHARGED ON CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA 13. The administrative expenses of the Lokpal, including all salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of the Chairperson, Members or Secretary or other officers or staff of the Lokpal, shall be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India and any fees or other moneys taken by the Lokpal shall form part of that Fund. CHAPTER VI JURISDICTION IN RESPECT OF INQUIRY 14. (1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the Lokpal shall inquire or cause an inquiry to be conducted into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with, any allegation of corruption made in a complaint in respect of the following, namely:— (a) any person who is or has been a Prime Minister: Provided that the Lokpal shall not inquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with, any such allegation of corruption against the Prime Minister,— (i) in so far as it relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space; Inquiry Wing. 49 of 1988. 2 of 1974. Jurisdiction of Lokpal to include Prime Minister, Ministers, members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of Central Government. Prosecution Wing. Expenses of Lokpal to be charged on Consolidated Fund of India. 49 of 1988. 8 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— (ii) unless a full bench of the Lokpal consisting of its Chairperson and all Members considers the initiation of inquiry and at least two-thirds of its Members approves of such inquiry: Provided further that any such inquiry shall be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry shall not be published or made available to anyone; (b) any person who is or has been a Minister of the Union; (c) any person who is or has been a member of either House of Parliament; (d) any Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’ officer or equivalent or above, from amongst the public servants defined in sub-clauses (i) and (ii) of clause (c) of section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 when serving or who has served, in connection with the affairs of the Union; (e) any Group ‘C’ or Group ‘D’ official or equivalent, from amongst the public servants defined in sub-clauses (i) and (ii) of clause (c) of section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 when serving or who has served in connection with the affairs of the Union subject to the provision of sub-section (1) of section 20; (f) any person who is or has been a chairperson or member or officer or employee in any body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or trust or autonomous body (by whatever name called) established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly financed by the Central Government or controlled by it: Provided that in respect of such officers referred to in clause (d) who have served in connection with the affairs of the Union or in any body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or trust or autonomous body referred to in clause (e) but are working in connection with the affairs of the State or in any body or Board or corporation or authority or company or society or trust or autonomous body (by whatever name called) established by an Act of the State Legislature or wholly or partly financed by the State Government or controlled by it, the Lokpal and the officers of its Inquiry Wing or Prosecution Wing shall have jurisdiction under this Act in respect of such officers only after obtaining the consent of the concerned State Government; (g) any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or other officer of every other society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), by whatever name called, wholly or partly financed by the Government and the annual income of which exceeds such amount as the Central Government may, by notification, specify; (h) any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or other officer of every other society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not) in receipt of any donation from any foreign source under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 in excess of ten lakh rupees in a year or such higher amount as the Central Government may, by notification, specify. Explanation.—For the purpose of clauses (f) and (g), it is hereby clarified that any entity or institution, by whatever name called, corporate, society, trust, association of persons, partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), shall be the entities covered in those clauses: Provided that any person referred to in this clause shall be deemed to be a public servant under clause (c) of section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the provisions of that Act shall apply accordingly. 49 of 1988. 49 of 1988. 42 of 2010. 49 of 1988. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 9 (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Lokpal shall not inquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with, any such allegation of corruption against any member of either House of Parliament in respect of anything said or a vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof covered under the provisions contained in clause (2) of article 105 of the Constitution. (3) The Lokpal may inquire into any act or conduct of any person other than those referred to in sub-section (1), if such person is involved in the act of abetting, bribe giving or bribe taking or conspiracy relating to any allegation of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against a person referred to in sub-section (1): Provided that no action under this section shall be taken in case of a person serving in connection with the affairs of a State, without the consent of the State Government. (4) No matter in respect of which a complaint has been made to the Lokpal under this Act, shall be referred for inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that a complaint under this Act shall only relate to a period during which the public servant was holding or serving in that capacity. 15. In case any matter or proceeding related to allegation of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has been pending before any court or committee of either House of Parliament or before any other authority prior to commencement of this Act or prior to commencement of any inquiry after the commencement of this Act, such matter or proceeding shall be continued before such court, committee or authority. 16. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act,— (a) the jurisdiction of the Lokpal may be exercised by benches thereof; (b) a bench may be constituted by the Chairperson with two or more Members as the Chairperson may deem fit; (c) every bench shall ordinarily consist of at least one Judicial Member; (d) where a bench consists of the Chairperson, such bench shall be presided over by the Chairperson; (e) where a bench consists of a Judicial Member, and a non-Judicial Member, not being the Chairperson, such bench shall be presided over by the Judicial Member; (f) the benches of the Lokpal shall ordinarily sit at New Delhi and at such other places as the Lokpal may, by regulations, specify. (2) The Lokpal shall notify the areas in relation to which each bench of the Lokpal may exercise jurisdiction. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2), the Chairperson shall have the power to constitute or reconstitute benches from time to time. (4) If at any stage of the hearing of any case or matter it appears to the Chairperson or a Member that the case or matter is of such nature that it ought to be heard by a bench consisting of three or more Members, the case or matter may be transferred by the Chairperson or, as the case may be, referred to him for transfer, to such bench as the Chairperson may deem fit. 49 of 1988. Matters pending before any court or committee or authority for inquiry not to be affected. Constitution of benches of Lokpal. 49 of 1988. 60 of 1952. 10 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— 17. Where benches are constituted, the Chairperson may, from time to time, by notification, make provisions as to the distribution of the business of the Lokpal amongst the benches and also provide for the matters which may be dealt with by each bench. 18. On an application for transfer made by the complainant or the public servant, the Chairperson, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the complainant or the public servant, as the case may be, may transfer any case pending before one bench for disposal to any other bench. 19. If the Members of a bench consisting of an even number of Members differ in opinion on any point, they shall state the point or points on which they differ, and make a reference to the Chairperson who shall either hear the point or points himself or refer the case for hearing on such point or points by one or more of the other Members of the Lokpal and such point or points shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the Members of the Lokpal who have heard the case, including those who first heard it. CHAPTER VII PROCEDURE IN RESPECT OF PRELIMINARY INQUIRY AND INVESTIGATION 20. (1) The Lokpal on receipt of a complaint, if it decides to proceed further, may order— (a) preliminary inquiry against any public servant by its Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to ascertain whether there exists a prima facie case for proceeding in the matter; or (b) investigation by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) when there exists a prima facie case: Provided that the Lokpal shall if it has decided to proceed with the preliminary inquiry, by a general or special order, refer the complaints or a category of complaints or a complaint received by it in respect of public servants belonging to Group A or Group B or Group C or Group D to the Central Vigilance Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003: Provided further that the Central Vigilance Commission in respect of complaints referred to it under the first proviso, after making preliminary inquiry in respect of public servants belonging to Group A and Group B, shall submit its report to the Lokpal in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-sections (2) and (4) and in case of public servants belonging to Group C and Group D, the Commission shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003: Provided also that before ordering an investigation under clause (b), the Lokpal shall call for the explanation of the public servant so as to determine whether there exists a prima facie case for investigation: Provided also that the seeking of explanation from the public servant before an investigation shall not interfere with the search and seizure, if any, required to be undertaken by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) under this Act. (2) During the preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1), the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall conduct a preliminary inquiry and on the basis of material, information and documents collected seek the comments on the allegations made in the complaint from the public servant and the competent authority and after obtaining the comments of the concerned public servant and the competent authority, submit, within sixty days from the date of receipt of the reference, a report to the Lokpal. (3) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received under sub-section (2) from the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment), and after giving an opportunity of being heard to the public servant, decide whether there exists a prima facie case, and proceed with one or more of the following actions, namely:— (a) investigation by any agency or the Delhi Special Police Establishment, as the case may be; (b) initiation of the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servants by the competent authority; (c) closure of the proceedings against the public servant and to proceed against the complainant under section 46. Distribution of business amongst benches. Power of Chairperson to transfer cases. Decision to be by majority. Provisions relating to complaints and preliminary inquiry and investigation. 45 of 2003. 45 of 2003. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 11 (4) Every preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1) shall ordinarily be completed within a period of ninety days and for reasons to be recorded in writing, within a further period of ninety days from the date of receipt of the complaint. (5) In case the Lokpal decides to proceed to investigate into the complaint, it shall direct any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to carry out the investigation as expeditiously as possible and complete the investigation within a period of six months from the date of its order: Provided that the Lokpal may extend the said period by a further period not exceeding of six months at a time for the reasons to be recorded in writing. (6) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall, in respect of cases referred to it by the Lokpal, submit the investigation report under that section to the court having jurisdiction and forward a copy thereof to the Lokpal. (7) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received by it under sub-section (6) from any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) and after obtaining the comments of the competent authority and the public servant may— (a) grant sanction to its Prosecution Wing or investigating agency to file chargesheet or direct the closure of report before the Special Court against the public servant; (b) direct the competent authority to initiate the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servant. (8) The Lokpal may, after taking a decision under sub-section (7) on the filing of the charge-sheet, direct its Prosecution Wing or any investigating agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to initiate prosecution in the Special Court in respect of the cases investigated by the agency. (9) The Lokpal may, during the preliminary inquiry or the investigation, as the case may be, pass appropriate orders for the safe custody of the documents relevant to the preliminary inquiry or, as the case may be, investigation as it deems fit. (10) The website of the Lokpal shall, from time to time and in such manner as may be specified by regulations, display to the public, the status of number of complaints pending before it or disposed of by it. (11) The Lokpal may retain the original records and evidences which are likely to be required in the process of preliminary inquiry or investigation or conduct of a case by it or by the Special Court. (12) Save as otherwise provided, the manner and procedure of conducting a preliminary inquiry or investigation (including such material and documents to be made available to the public servant) under this Act, shall be such as may be specified by regulations. 21. If, at any stage of the proceeding, the Lokpal— (a) considers it necessary to inquire into the conduct of any person other than the accused; or (b) is of opinion that the reputation of any person other than an accused is likely to be prejudicially affected by the preliminary inquiry, the Lokpal shall give to that person a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the preliminary inquiry and to produce evidence in his defence, consistent with the principles of natural justice. Persons likely to be prejudicially affected to be heard. 2 of 1974. 12 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— 22. Subject to the provisions of this Act, for the purpose of any preliminary inquiry or investigation, the Lokpal or the investigating agency, as the case may be, may require any public servant or any other person who, in its opinion, is able to furnish information or produce documents relevant to such preliminary inquiry or investigation, to furnish any such information or produce any such document. 23. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 or section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Lokpal shall have the power to grant sanction for prosecution under clause (a) of sub-section (7) of section 20. (2) No prosecution under sub-section (1) shall be initiated against any public servant accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, and no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction of the Lokpal. (3) Nothing contained in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall apply in respect of the persons holding office in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution and in respect of which a procedure for removal of such person has been specified therein. (4) The provisions contained in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) shall be without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in article 311 and sub-clause (c) of clause (3) of article 320 of the Constitution. 24. Where, after the conclusion of the investigation, the findings of the Lokpal disclose the commission of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by a public servant referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 14, the Lokpal may file a case in the Special Court and shall send a copy of the report together with its findings to the competent authority. CHAPTER VIII POWERS OF LOKPAL 25. (1) The Lokpal shall, notwithstanding anything contained in section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and section 8 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, have the powers of superintendence over, and to give direction to the Delhi Special Police Establishment in respect of the matters referred by the Lokpal for preliminary inquiry or investigation to the Delhi Special Police Establishment under this Act: Provided that while exercising powers of superintendence or giving direction under this sub-section, the Lokpal shall not exercise powers in such a manner so as to require any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to whom the investigation has been given, to investigate and dispose of any case in a particular manner. (2) The Central Vigilance Commission shall send a statement, at such interval as the Lokpal may direct, to the Lokpal in respect of action taken on complaints referred to it under the second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 20 and on receipt of such statement, the Lokpal may issue guidelines for effective and expeditious disposal of such cases. (3) Any officer of the Delhi Special Police Establishment investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal. (4) The Delhi Special Police Establishment may, with the consent of the Lokpal, appoint a panel of Advocates, other than the Government Advocates, for conducting the cases referred to it by the Lokpal. Power of Lokpal to grant sanction for initiating prosecution. Action on investigation against public servant being Prime Minister, Ministers or Members of Parliament. 2 of 1974. 25 of 1946. 49 of 1988. 49 of 1988. Supervisory powers of Lokpal. 25 of 1946. 45 of 2003. Lokpal may require any public servant or any other person to furnish information, etc. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 13 (5) The Central Government may from time to time make available such funds as may be required by the Director of the Delhi Special Police Establishment for conducting effective investigation into the matters referred to it by the Lokpal and the Director shall be responsible for the expenditure incurred in conducting such investigation. 26. (1) If the Lokpal has reason to believe that any document which, in its opinion, shall be useful for, or relevant to, any investigation under this Act, are secreted in any place, it may authorise any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to whom the investigation has been given to search for and to seize such documents. (2) If the Lokpal is satisfied that any document seized under sub-section (1) may be used as evidence for the purpose of any investigation under this Act and that it shall be necessary to retain the document in its custody or in the custody of such officer as may be authorised, it may so retain or direct such authorised officer to retain such document till the completion of such investigation: Provided that where any document is required to be returned, the Lokpal or the authorised officer may return the same after retaining copies of such document duly authenticated. 27. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, for the purpose of any preliminary inquiry, the Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal shall have all the powers of a civil court, under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:— (i) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (ii) requiring the discovery and production of any document; (iii) receiving evidence on affidavits; (iv) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; (v) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents: Provided that such commission, in case of a witness, shall be issued only where the witness, in the opinion of the Lokpal, is not in a position to attend the proceeding before the Lokpal; and (vi) such other matters as may be prescribed. (2) Any proceeding before the Lokpal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of section 193 of the Indian Penal Code. 28. (1) The Lokpal may, for the purpose of conducting any preliminary inquiry or investigation, utilise the services of any officer or organisation or investigating agency of the Central Government or any State Government, as the case may be. (2) For the purpose of preliminary inquiry or investigating into any matter pertaining to such inquiry or investigation, any officer or organisation or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1) may, subject to the superintendence and direction of the Lokpal,— (a) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him; (b) require the discovery and production of any document; and (c) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any office. (3) The officer or organisation or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (2) shall inquire or, as the case may be, investigate into any matter pertaining to the preliminary inquiry or investigation and submit a report thereon to the Lokpal within such period as may be specified by it in this behalf. 29. (1) Where the Lokpal or any officer authorised by it in this behalf, has reason to believe, the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing, on the basis of material in his possession, that— (a) any person is in possession of any proceeds of corruption; Search and seizure. Lokpal to have powers of civil court in certain cases. 45 of 1860. 5 of 1908. Power of Lokpal to utilise services of officers of Central or State Government. Provisional attachment of assets. 14 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— (b) such person is accused of having committed an offence relating to corruption; and (c) such proceeds of offence are likely to be concealed, transferred or dealt with in any manner which may result in frustrating any proceedings relating to confiscation of such proceeds of offence, the Lokpal or the authorised officer may, by order in writing, provisionally attach such property for a period not exceeding ninety days from the date of the order, in the manner provided in the Second Schedule to the Income-tax Act, 1961 and the Lokpal and the officer shall be deemed to be an officer under sub-rule (e) of rule 1 of that Schedule. (2) The Lokpal or the officer authorised in this behalf shall, immediately after attachment under sub-section (1), forward a copy of the order, along with the material in his possession, referred to in that sub-section, to the Special Court, in a sealed envelope, in the manner as may be prescribed and such Court may extend the order of attachment and keep such material for such period as the Court may deem fit. (3) Every order of attachment made under sub-section (1) shall cease to have effect after the expiry of the period specified in that sub-section or after the expiry of the period as directed by the Special Court under sub-section (2). (4) Nothing in this section shall prevent the person interested in the enjoyment of the immovable property attached under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), from such enjoyment. Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, “person interested”, in relation to any immovable property, includes all persons claiming or entitled to claim any interest in the property. 30. (1) The Lokpal, when it provisionally attaches any property under sub-section (1) of section 29 shall, within a period of thirty days of such attachment, direct its Prosecution Wing to file an application stating the facts of such attachment before the Special Court and make a prayer for confirmation of attachment of the property till completion of the proceedings against the public servant in the Special Court. (2) The Special Court may, if it is of the opinion that the property provisionally attached had been acquired through corrupt means, make an order for confirmation of attachment of such property till the completion of the proceedings against the public servant in the Special Court. (3) If the public servant is subsequently acquitted of the charges framed against him, the property, subject to the orders of the Special Court, shall be restored to the concerned public servant along with benefits from such property as might have accrued during the period of attachment. (4) If the public servant is subsequently convicted of the charges of corruption, the proceeds relatable to the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 shall be confiscated and vest in the Central Government free from any encumbrance or leasehold interest excluding any debt due to any bank or financial institution. Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, the expressions “bank”, “debt” and “financial institution” shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (d), (g) and (h) of section 2 of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993. 31. (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of sections 29 and 30, where the Special Court, on the basis of prima facie evidence, has reason to believe or is satisfied that the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, by whatever name called, have arisen or procured by means of corruption by the public servant, it may authorise the confiscation of such assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits till his acquittal. (2) Where an order of confiscation made under sub-section (1) is modified or annulled by the High Court or where the public servant is acquitted by the Special Court, the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, confiscated under sub-section (1) shall be returned to such 43 of 1961. Confirmation of attachment of assets. 49 of 1988. 51 of 1993. Confiscation of assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 15 public servant, and in case it is not possible for any reason to return the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, such public servant shall be paid the price thereof including the money so confiscated with interest at the rate of five per cent. per annum thereon calculated from the date of confiscation. 32. (1) Where the Lokpal, while making a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption, is prima facie satisfied, on the basis of evidence available,— (i) that the continuance of the public servant referred to in clause (d) or clause (e) or clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 14 in his post while conducting the preliminary inquiry is likely to affect such preliminary inquiry adversely; or (ii) such public servant is likely to destroy or in any way tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses, then, the Lokpal may recommend to the Central Government for transfer or suspension of such public servant from the post held by him till such period as may be specified in the order. (2) The Central Government shall ordinarily accept the recommendation of the Lokpal made under sub-section (1), except for the reasons to be recorded in writing in a case where it is not feasible to do so for administrative reasons. 33. The Lokpal may, in the discharge of its functions under this Act, issue appropriate directions to a public servant entrusted with the preparation or custody of any document or record— (a) to protect such document or record from destruction or damage; or (b) to prevent the public servant from altering or secreting such document or record; or (c) to prevent the public servant from transferring or alienating any assets allegedly acquired by him through corrupt means. 34. The Lokpal may, by general or special order in writing, and subject to such conditions and limitations as may be specified therein, direct that any administrative or financial power conferred on it may also be exercised or discharged by such of its Members or officers or employees as may be specified in the order. CHAPTER IX SPECIAL COURTS 35. (1) The Central Government shall constitute such number of Special Courts, as recommended by the Lokpal, to hear and decide the cases arising out of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or under this Act. (2) The Special Courts constituted under sub-section (1) shall ensure completion of each trial within a period of one year from the date of filing of the case in the Court: Provided that in case the trial cannot be completed within a period of one year, the Special Court shall record reasons therefor and complete the trial within a further period of not more than three months or such further periods not exceeding three months each, for reasons to be recorded in writing before the end of each such three months period, but not exceeding a total period of two years. 36. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 if, in the course of an preliminary inquiry or investigation into an offence or other proceeding under this Act, an application is made to a Special Court by an officer of the Lokpal authorised in this behalf that any evidence is required in connection with the preliminary inquiry or investigation into an offence or proceeding under this Act and he is of the opinion that such evidence may be available in any place in a contracting State, and the Special Court, on being satisfied that such evidence is required in connection with the preliminary Power of Lokpal to recommend transfer or suspension of public servant connected with allegation of corruption. Power of Lokpal to give directions to prevent destruction of records during preliminary inquiry. Power to delegate. Special Courts to be constituted by Central Government. Letter of request to a contracting State in certain cases. 2 of 1974. 49 of 1988. 16 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— inquiry or investigation into an offence or proceeding under this Act, may issue a letter of request to a court or an authority in the contracting State competent to deal with such request to— (i) examine the facts and circumstances of the case; (ii) take such steps as the Special Court may specify in such letter of request; and (iii) forward all the evidence so taken or collected to the Special Court issuing such letter of request. (2) The letter of request shall be transmitted in such manner as the Central Government may prescribe in this behalf. (3) Every statement recorded or document or thing received under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be evidence collected during the course of the preliminary inquiry or investigation. CHAPTER X COMPLAINTS AGAINST CHAIRPERSON, MEMBERS AND OFFICIALS OF LOKPAL 37. (1) The Lokpal shall not inquire into any complaint made against the Chairperson or any Member. (2) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), the Chairperson or any Member shall be removed from his office by order of the President on grounds of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it by the President on a petition signed by at least one hundred Members of Parliament has, on an inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed in that behalf, reported that the Chairperson or such Member, as the case may be, ought to be removed on such ground. (3) The President may suspend from office the Chairperson or any Member in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (2), on receipt of the recommendation or interim order made by the Supreme Court in this regard until the President has passed orders on receipt of the final report of the Supreme Court on such reference. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2), the President may, by order, remove from the office, the Chairperson or any Member if the Chairperson or such Member, as the case may be,— (a) is adjudged an insolvent; or (b) engages, during his term of office, in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or (c) is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body. (5) If the Chairperson or any Member is, or becomes, in any way concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of India or the Government of a State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emolument arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (2), be deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour. Removal and suspension of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 17 38. (1) Every complaint of allegation or wrongdoing made against any officer or employee or agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment), under or associated with the Lokpal for an offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this section. (2) The Lokpal shall complete the inquiry into the complaint or allegation made within a period of thirty days from the date of its receipt. (3) While making an inquiry into the complaint against any officer or employee of the Lokpal or agency engaged or associated with the Lokpal, if it is prima facie satisfied on the basis of evidence available, that— (a) continuance of such officer or employee of the Lokpal or agency engaged or associated in his post while conducting the inquiry is likely to affect such inquiry adversely; or (b) an officer or employee of the Lokpal or agency engaged or associated is likely to destroy or in any way tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses, then, the Lokpal may, by order, suspend such officer or employee of the Lokpal or divest such agency engaged or associated with the Lokpal of all powers and responsibilities hereto before exercised by it . (4) On the completion of the inquiry, if the Lokpal is satisfied that there is prima facie evidence of the commission of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or of any wrongdoing, it shall, within a period of fifteen days of the completion of such inquiry, order to prosecute such officer or employee of the Lokpal or such officer, employee, agency engaged or associated with the Lokpal and initiate disciplinary proceedings against the official concerned: Provided that no such order shall be passed without giving such officer or employee of the Lokpal, such officer, employee, agency engaged or associated, a reasonable opportunity of being heard. CHAPTER XI ASSESSMENT OF LOSS AND RECOVERY THEREOF BY SPECIAL COURT 39. If any public servant is convicted of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by the Special Court, notwithstanding and without prejudice to any law for the time being in force, it may make an assessment of loss, if any, caused to the public exchequer on account of the actions or decisions of such public servant not taken in good faith and for which he stands convicted, and may order recovery of such loss, if possible or quantifiable, from such public servant so convicted: Provided that if the Special Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing, comes to the conclusion that the loss caused was pursuant to a conspiracy with the beneficiary or beneficiaries of actions or decisions of the public servant so convicted, then such loss may, if assessed and quantifiable under this section, also be recovered from such beneficiary or beneficiaries proportionately. CHAPTER XII FINANCE, ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT 40. The Lokpal shall prepare, in such form and at such time in each financial year as may be prescribed, its budget for the next financial year, showing the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Lokpal and forward the same to the Central Government for information. 41. The Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, make to the Lokpal grants of such sums of money as are required to be paid for the salaries and allowances payable to the Chairperson and Members and the administrative expenses, including the salaries and allowances and pension payable to or in respect of officers and other employees of the Lokpal. Complaints against officials of Lokpal. 49 of 1988. 49 of 1988. Assessment of loss and recovery thereof by Special Court. 49 of 1988. Budget. Grants by Central Government. 18 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— 42. (1) The Lokpal shall maintain proper accounts and other relevant records and prepare an annual statement of accounts in such form as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. (2) The accounts of the Lokpal shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor- General of India at such intervals as may be specified by him. (3) The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India or any person appointed by him in connection with the audit of the accounts of the Lokpal under this Act shall have the same rights, privileges and authority in connection with such audit, as the Comptroller and Auditor- General of India generally has, in connection with the audit of the Government accounts and, in particular, shall have the right to demand the production of books, accounts, connected vouchers and other documents and papers and to inspect any of the offices of the Lokpal. (4) The accounts of the Lokpal, as certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India or any other person appointed by him in this behalf, together with the audit report thereon, shall be forwarded annually to the Central Government and the Central Government shall cause the same to be laid before each House of Parliament. 43. The Lokpal shall furnish to the Central Government, at such time and in such form and manner as may be prescribed or as the Central Government may request, such returns and statements and such particulars in regard to any matter under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal, as the Central Government may, from time to time, require. CHAPTER XIII DECLARATION OF ASSETS 44. (1) Every public servant shall make a declaration of his assets and liabilities in the manner as provided by or under this Act. (2) A public servant shall, within a period of thirty days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation to enter upon his office, furnish to the competent authority the information relating to— (a) the assets of which he, his spouse and his dependent children are, jointly or severally, owners or beneficiaries; (b) his liabilities and that of his spouse and his dependent children. (3) A public servant holding his office as such, at the time of the commencement of this Act, shall furnish information relating to such assets and liabilities, as referred to in subsection (2), to the competent authority within thirty days of the coming into force of this Act. (4) Every public servant shall file with the competent authority, on or before the 31st July of every year, an annual return of such assets and liabilities, as referred to in sub-section (2), as on the 31st March of that year. (5) The information under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) and annual return under sub-section (4) shall be furnished to the competent authority in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed. (6) The competent authority in respect of each Ministry or Department shall ensure that all such statements are published on the website of such Ministry or Department by 31st August of that year. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “dependent children” means sons and daughters who have no separate means of earning and are wholly dependent on the public servant for their livelihood. Annual statement of accounts. Furnishing of returns, etc., to Central Government. Declaration of assets. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 19 45. If any public servant wilfully or for reasons which are not justifiable, fails to— (a) to declare his assets; or (b) gives misleading information in respect of such assets and is found to be in possession of assets not disclosed or in respect of which misleading information was furnished, then, such assets shall, unless otherwise proved, be presumed to belong to the public servant and shall be presumed to be assets acquired by corrupt means: Provided that the competent authority may condone or exempt the public servant from furnishing information in respect of assets not exceeding such minimum value as may be prescribed. CHAPTER XIV OFFENCES AND PENALTIES 46. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, whoever makes any false and frivolous or vexatious complaint under this Act shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees. (2) No Court, except a Special Court, shall take cognizance of an offence under subsection (1). (3) No Special Court shall take cognizance of an offence under sub-section (1) except on a complaint made by a person against whom the false, frivolous or vexatious complaint was made or by an officer authorised by the Lokpal. (4) The prosecution in relation to an offence under sub-section (1) shall be conducted by the public prosecutor and all expenses connected with such prosecution shall be borne by the Central Government. (5) In case of conviction of a person [being an individual or society or association of persons or trust (whether registered or not)], for having made a false complaint under this Act, such person shall be liable to pay compensation to the public servant against whom he made the false complaint in addition to the legal expenses for contesting the case by such public servant, as the Special Court may determine. (6) Nothing contained in this section shall apply in case of complaints made in good faith. Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section, the expression ‘‘good faith’’ means any act believed or done by a person in good faith with due care, caution and sense of responsibility or by mistake of fact believing himself justified by law under section 79 of the Indian Penal Code. 47. (1) Where any offence under sub-section (1) of section 46 has been committed by any society or association of persons or trust (whether registered or not), every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the society or association of persons or trust, for the conduct of the business or affairs or activities of the society or association of persons or trust as well as such society or association of persons or trust shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a society or association of persons or trust (whether registered or not) and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or Presumption as to acquisition of assets by corrupt means in certain cases. Prosecution for false complaint and payment of compensation, etc., to public servant. False complaint made by society or association of persons or trust. 45 of 1860. 20 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of such society or association of persons or trust, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. CHAPTER XV MISCELLANEOUS 48. It shall be the duty of the Lokpal to present annually to the President a report on the work done by the Lokpal and on receipt of such report the President shall cause a copy thereof together with a memorandum explaining, in respect of the cases, if any, where the advice of the Lokpal was not accepted, the reason for such non-acceptance to be laid before each House of Parliament. 49. The Lokpal shall function as the final appellate authority in respect of appeals arising out of any other law for the time being in force providing for delivery of public services and redressal of public grievances by any public authority in cases where the decision contains findings of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 50. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings under this Act shall lie against any public servant, in respect of anything which is done in good faith or intended to be done in the discharge of his official functions or in exercise of his powers. 51. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Lokpal or against any officer, employee, agency or any person, in respect of anything which is done in good faith or intended to be done under this Act or the rules or the regulations made thereunder. 52. The Chairperson, Members, officers and other employees of the Lokpal shall be deemed, when acting or purporting to act in pursuance of any of the provisions of this Act, to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code. 53. The Lokpal shall not inquire or investigate into any complaint, if the complaint is made after the expiry of a period of seven years from the date on which the offence mentioned in such complaint is alleged to have been committed. 54. No civil court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any matter which the Lokpal is empowered by or under this Act to determine. 55. The Lokpal shall provide to every person against whom a complaint has been made, before it, under this Act, legal assistance to defend his case before the Lokpal, if such assistance is requested for. 56. The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any enactment other than this Act or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any enactment other than this Act. 57. The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law for the time being in force. Reports of Lokpal. Lokpal to function as appellate authority for appeals arising out of any other law for the time being in force. Protection of action taken in good faith by any public servant. Protection of action taken in good faith by others. Members, officers and employees of Lokpal to be public servants. Bar of Jurisdiction. Limitation to apply in certain cases. Legal assistance. Act to have overriding effect. Provisions of this Act to be in addition of other laws. 49 of 1988. 45 of 1860. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 21 58. The enactments specified in the Schedule shall be amended in the manner specified therein. 59. (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act. (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:— (a) the form of complaint referred to in clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 2; (b) the term of the Search Committee, the fee and allowances payable to its members and the manner of selection of panel of names under sub-section (5) of section 4; (c) the post or posts in respect of which the appointment shall be made after consultation with the Union Public Service Commission under the proviso to subsection (3) of section 10; (d) other matters for which the Lokpal shall have the powers of a civil court under clause (vi) of sub-section (1) of section 27; (e) the manner of sending the order of attachment along with the material to the Special Court under sub-section (2) of section 29; (f) the manner of transmitting the letter of request under sub-section (2) of section 36; (g) the form and the time for preparing in each financial year the budget for the next financial year, showing the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Lokpal under section 40; (h) the form for maintaining the accounts and other relevant records and the form of annual statement of accounts under sub-section (1) of section 42; (i) the form and manner and the time for preparing the returns and statements along with particulars under section 43; (j) the form and the time for preparing an annual return giving a summary of its activities during the previous year under sub-section (5) of section 44; (k) the form of annual return to be filed by a public servant under sub-section (5) of section 44; (l) the minimum value for which the competent authority may condone or exempt a public servant from furnishing information in respect of assets under the proviso to section 45; (m) any other matter which is to be or may be prescribed. 60. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, the Lokpal may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make regulations to carry out the provisions of this Act. (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such regulations may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:— (a) the conditions of service of the secretary and other officers and staff of the Lokpal and the matters which in so far as they relate to salaries, allowances, leave or pensions, require the approval of the President under sub-section (4) of section 10; (b) the place of sittings of benches of the Lokpal under clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 16; Amendment of certain enactments. Power to make rules. Power of Lokpal to make regulations. 22 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— (c) the manner for displaying on the website of the Lokpal, the status of all complaints pending or disposed of along with records and evidence with reference thereto under sub-section (10) of section 20; (d) the manner and procedure of conducting preliminary inquiry or investigation under sub-section (11) of section 20; (e) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, specified under this Act. 61. Every rule and regulation made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or regulation, or both Houses agree that the rule or regulation should not be made, the rule or regulation shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule or regulation. 62. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order, published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as appear to be necessary for removing the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made under this section after the expiry of a period of two years from the commencement of this Act. (2) Every order made under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament. PART III ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LOKAYUKTA 63. Every State shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State, if not so established, constituted or appointed, by a law made by the State Legislature, to deal with complaints relating to corruption against certain public functionaries, within a period of one year from the date of commencement of this Act. Laying of rules and regulations. Power to remove difficulties. Establishment of Lokayukta. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 23 THE SCHEDULE [See section 58] AMENDMENT TO CERTAIN ENACTMENTS PART I AMENDMENT TO THE COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT, 1952 (60 OF 1952) In section 3, in sub-section (1), for the words ‘‘The appropriate Government may’’, the words and figures ‘‘Save as otherwise provided in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, the appropriate Government may’’ shall be substituted. PART II AMENDMENTS TO THE DELHI SPECIAL POLICE ESTABLISHMENT ACT, 1946 (25 OF 1946) 1. In section 4A,— (i) for sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:— ‘‘(1) The Central Government shall appoint the Director on the recommendation of the Committee consisting of— (a) the Prime Minister — Chairperson; (b) the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People — Member; (c) the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him — Member.’’; (ii) sub-section (2) shall be omitted. 2. After section 4B, the following section shall be inserted, namely:— “4BA. (1) There shall be a Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director who shall be an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, for conducting prosecution of cases under this Act. (2) The Director of Prosecution shall function under the overall supervision and control of the Director. (3) The Central Government shall appoint the Director of Prosecution on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission. (4) The Director of Prosecution shall notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the rules relating to his conditions of service, continue to hold office for a period of not less than two years from the date on which he assumes office.”. 3. In section 4C, for sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:— “(1) The Central Government shall appoint officers to the posts of the level of Superintendent of Police and above except Director, and also recommend the extension or curtailment of the tenure of such officers in the Delhi Special Police Establishment, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:— (a) the Central Vigilance Commissioner — Chairperson; (b) Vigilance Commissioners — Members; (c) Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the Ministry of Home — Member; Amendment of section 3. Amendment of section 4A. Insertion of new section 4BA. Director of Prosecution. Amendment of section 4C. 24 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— (d) Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the Department of Personnel — Member: Provided that the Committee shall consult the Director before submitting its recommendation to the Central Government.”. PART III AMENDMENTS TO THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT, 1988 (49 OF 1988) 1. In sections 7, 8, 9 and section 12,— (a) for the words ‘‘six months’’, the words ‘‘three years’’ shall respectively be substituted; (b) for the words ‘‘five years’’, the words ‘‘seven years’’ shall respectively be substituted. 2. In section 13, in sub-section (2),— (a) for the words ‘‘one year’’, the words ‘‘four years’’ shall be substituted; (b) for the words ‘‘seven years’’, the words ‘‘ten years’’ shall be substituted. 3. In section 14,— (a) for the words ‘‘two years’’, the words ‘‘five years’’ shall be substituted; (b) for the words ‘‘seven years’’, the words ‘‘ten years’’ shall be substituted. 4. In section 15, for the words ‘‘which may extend to three years’’, the words ‘‘which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to five years’’ shall be substituted. 5. In section 19, after the words ‘‘except with the previous sanction’’, the words ‘‘save as otherwise provided in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013’’ shall be inserted. PART IV AMENDMENT TO THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, 1973 (2 OF 1974) In section 197, after the words ‘‘except with the previous sanction’’, the words ‘‘save as otherwise provided in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013’’ shall be inserted. PART V AMENDMENTS TO THE CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION ACT, 2003 (45 OF 2003) 1. In section 2, after clause (d), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘(da) ‘‘Lokpal’’ means the Lokpal established under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013;’. 2. In section 8, in sub-section (2), after clause (b), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘‘(c) on a reference made by the Lokpal under proviso to sub-section (1) of section 20 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, the persons referred to in clause (d) of sub-section (1) shall also include— (i) members of Group B, Group C and Group D services of the Central Government; (ii) such level of officials or staff of the corporations established by or under any Central Act, Government companies, societies and other local authorities, owned or controlled by the Central Government, as that Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf: Provided that till such time a notification is issued under this clause, all officials or staff of the said corporations, companies, societies and local authorities shall be deemed to be the persons referred in clause (d) of sub-section (1).”. Amendment of section 13. Amendment of section 14. Amendment of section 15. Amendment of section 19. Amendment of section 197. Amendment of section 2. Amendment of section 8. Amendment of sections 7, 8, 9 and 12. SEC. 1] THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY 25 3. After section 8, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:— ‘‘8A. (1) Where, after the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry relating to corruption of public servants belonging to Group C and Group D officials of the Central Government, the findings of the Commission disclose, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the public servant, a prima facie violation of conduct rules relating to corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by such public servant, the Commission shall proceed with one or more of the following actions, namely:— (a) cause an investigation by any agency or the Delhi Special Police Establishment, as the case may be; (b) initiation of the disciplinary proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servant by the competent authority; (c) closure of the proceedings against the public servant and to proceed against the complainant under section 46 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. (2) Every preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1) shall ordinarily be completed within a period of ninety days and for reasons to be recorded in writing, within a further period of ninety days from the date of receipt of the complaint. 8B. (1) In case the Commission decides to proceed to investigate into the complaint under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 8A, it shall direct any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to carry out the investigation as expeditiously as possible and complete the investigation within a period of six months from the date of its order and submit the investigation report containing its findings to the Commission: Provided that the Commission may extend the said period by a further period of six months for the reasons to be recorded in writing. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall, in respect of cases referred to it by the Commission, submit the investigation report to the Commission. (3) The Commission shall consider every report received by it under sub-section (2) from any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) and may decide as to— (a) file charge-sheet or closure report before the Special Court against the public servant; (b) initiate the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servant by the competent authority.”. 4. After section 11, the following section shall be inserted, namely:— ‘‘11A. (1) There shall be a Director of Inquiry, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, who shall be appointed by the Central Government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Commission by the Lokpal. Action on investigation in relation to public servants. Insertion of new section 11A. Director of Inquiry for making preliminary inquiry. Action on preliminary inquiry in relation to public servants. Insertion of new sections 8A and 8B. 49 of 1988. 2 of 1974. (2) The Central Government shall provide the Director of Inquiry such officers and employees as may be required for the discharge of his functions under this Act.”. ———— P.K. MALHOTRA, Secy. to the Govt. of India. GMGIPMRND—3844GI(S3)—01-01-2014. PRINTED BY DIRECTORATE OF PRINTING AT GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PRESS, MINTO ROAD, NEW DELHI AND PUBLISHED BY THE CONTROLLER OF PUBLICATIONS, DELHI, 2013. ———— CORRIGENDA In the Securities Laws (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2013 (9 of 2013), as published in a Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 1, Issue No. 32, dated the 16th September, 2013,— 1. At page 3, line 19, for “the disgorge”, read “to disgorge”. 2. At page 4,— (i) in line 4, for “cluase” read “clause”; (ii) in line 12, for “sub-clause”, read “sub-clauses”. 3. At page 6, line 15, for “purpose”, read “purposes”. 4. At page 8, line 43, for “sub-section”, read “sub-sections”. 5. At page 10, line 24, for “secton”, read “section”. ———— CORRIGENDA In the Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies (Third) Ordinance, 2013 (10 of 2013), as published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 1, Issue No. 41, dated the 27th September, 2013,— (i) at page 1, in the Preamble, in paragraph 3, in the line 2, for “Parliament”, read “Parliamentary”; and (ii) at page 4, in line 15, for “to any”, read “of any”. ———— CORRIGENDA In the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2013 (11 of 2013), as published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 1, Issue No. 42, dated the 28th September, 2013,— (i) at page 2, in line 32, for “reprsentatives”, read “representatives”. (ii) at page 3, in line 3, for “provide”, read “may provide”. (iii) at page 3, in line 40, for “sub-section”, read “sub-sections”. 26 THE GAZETTE OF INDIA EXTRAORDINARY [PART II— SEC. 1]
NORMS FIXED BY CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION FOR PRIORITISING DISPOSAL OF APPEALS / COMPLAINTS

Agenda 3: Norms and procedure for according priority to appellants in hearing  appeals/complaint filed before the Commission

[In the meeting held on 13/12/2011],the Commission resolved that “The appeals/complaint received from Senior Citizens or  from differently abled persons in the respective registries will be put up to the Bench of  the Commission where such cases are registered. The Information Commissioner  under Section 12 (4) of the RTI Act will decide on the priority to be given to such  appeals and complaints. The priority accorded will be the part of judicial decision which  necessarily will involve recording reasons for giving such priority while adjudicating the  case. The same procedure will be followed in cases which, according to the opinion of  the Information commissioner, involve larger Public Interest.”

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION RULES,2012

MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS

(Department of Personnel and Training)

NOTIFICATION

New Delhi, the 31st July, 2012

 

GS.R.603(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (22 of 2005)  and in supersession of the Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005 and the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely :—

I. Short title and commencement —(1) These rules may be called the Right to Information Rules, 2012.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions.—In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(a) “Act” means the Right to InforrnationAct, 2005 (22 of 2005);

(b) “Commission” means the Central Information Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of Section  12 of the Act; 

(c) “First Appellate Authority” means an officer in the public authority who is:senior in rank to the Central  Public Information Officer to whom an appeal under sub-section (1) of Section 19’of the Act lies;

(d) “Registrar” means an officer of the Commission so designated and includes an Additional Registrar,  Joint Registrar and Deputy Registrar;

(e) “Section” means a Section of the Act;

(f) all other words and expressions used herein but not defined in these rules shall have the same meanings assigned to them in the Act.

3. Application Fee.—An application under sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Act shall be accompanied by a fee  of rupees ten and shall ordinarily not contain more than five hundred words, excluding annexures, containing address of the  Central Public Information Officer and that of the applicant: Provided that no application shall be rejected only on the ground that it contains more than five hundred words.

4. Fees for providing information.—Fee for providing information under sub-section (4) of Section 4 and sub-sections (I) and (5) of Section 7 of the Act shall be charged at the following rates, namely :—

(a) rupees two for each page in A-3 or smaller size paper;

(b) actual cost or price of a photocopy in large size paper;

(c) actual cost or price for samples or models;

(d) rupees fifty per diskette or floppy;

(e) price fixed for a publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication;

(f) no fee for inspection of records for the first hour of inspection and a fee of rupees 5 for each subsequent hour  or fraction thereof; and

(g) so much of postal charge involved in supply of information that exceeds fifty rupees.

5. Exemption from Payment of Fee.—No fee under rule 3 and rule 4 shall be charged from any person who, is below poverty line provided a copy of the certificate issued by the appropriate Government in this regard is submitted  alongwith the application.

6. Mode of Payment of fee.—Fees under these rules may be paid in any of the following manner, namely:—

(a) in cash, to the public authority or to the Central Assistant Public Information Officer of the public authority, as the case may be, against a proper receipt; or

(b) by demand draft or bankers cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Accounts Officer of the public  authority; or

(c) by electronic means to the Accounts Officer of the public authority, if facility for receiving fees through electronic means is available with the public authority.

7. Appointment of Secretary to the Commission.—The Central Government shall appoint an officer not below  the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India as Secretary to the Commission.

8. Appeal to the Commission.—Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the First Appellate Authority or by non-disposal of his appeal by the First Appellate Authority, may file an appeal to the Commission in the format given in the Appendix and shall be accompanied by the following documents, duly authenticated and verified by the appellant, namely:

(i) a copy of the application submitted to the Central Public Information Officer;

(ii) a copy of the reply received, if any, from the Central Public Information Officer;

(iii) a copy of the appeal made to the First Appellate Authority;

(iv) a copy of the Order received, if any, from the First Appellate Authority;

(v) copies of other documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in his appeal; and

(vi) an index of the documents referred to in the appeal.

9. Return of Appeal.—An appeal may be returned to the appellant, if it is not accompanied by the documents as specified in rule 8, for removing the deficiencies and filing the appeal complete in all respects.

10. Process of appeal.—(1) On receipt of an appeal, if the Commission is not satisfied that it is a fit case to proceed  with, it may, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the appellant and after recording its reasons, dismiss the appeal:

Provided that no appeal shall be dismissed only on the ground that it has not been made in the specified format if it is accompanied by documents as specified in rule 8.

(2) The Commission shall not consider an appeal unless it is satisfied that the appellant has availed of all the remedies available to him under the Act.

(3) For the purposes of sub-rule (2), a person shall be deemed to have availed of all the remedies available to him under the Act:

(a) if he had filed an appeal before the First Appellate Authority and the First Appellate Authority or any other person competent to pass order on such appeal had made a final order on the appeal; or

(b) where no final order has been made by the First Appellate Authority with regard to the appeal preferred, and a period of forty five days from the date on which such appeal was preferred has elapsed.

11. Procedure for deciding appeals.—The Commission, while deciding an appeal may.—

(i) receive oral or written evidence on oath or on affidavit from concerned or interested person;

(ii) peruse or inspect documents, public records or copies thereof;

(iii) inquire through authorised officer further details or facts;

(iv) hear Central Public Information Officer, Central Assistant Public Information Officer or the First Appellate Authority, or such person against whose action the appeal is preferred, as the case may be;

(v) hear third party; and

(vi) receive evidence on affidavits from Central Public Information Officer, Central Assistant Public Information Officer, First Appellate Authority and such other person against whom the appeal lies or the third party.

12. Presence of the appellant before the Commission.—(I) The appellant shall be informed of the date at least seven clear days before the date of hearing.

(2) The appellant may be present in person or through his duly authorised representative or through video conferencing, if the facility of video conferencing is available, at the time of hearing of the appeal by the Commission.

(3) Where the Commission is satisfied that the circumstances exist due to which the appellant is unable to attend the hearing, then, the Commission may afford the appellant another opportunity of being heard before a final decision is taken or take any other appropriate action as it may deem fit.

13. Presentation by the Public Authority.—The public authority may authorise any representative of any of its officers to present its case.

14. Service of notice by Commission.—The Commission may issue the notice by name, which shall be served in any of the following modes, namely:—

(i) service by the party itself;

(ii) by hand delivery (dasti) through Process Server;

(iii) by registered post with acknowledgement due;

(iv) by electronic mail in case electronic address is available.

15. Order of the Commission. —The order of the Commission shall be in writing and issued under the seal of the Commission duly authenticated by the Registrar or any other officer authorised by the Commission for this purpose.

[F. No. I/35/2009-1R]

MANOJ JOSHI, Jt. Secy.

 

APPENDIX

FORMAT OF APPEAL

(See Rule 8)

I. Name and address or the appellant

2. Name and address of the Central Public Information Officer to whom the application was addressed

3. Name and address of the Central Public Information Officer who gave reply to the Application.

4. Name and address of the First Appellate Authority who decided the First Appeal

5. Particulars of the application

6. Particulars of the order(s) including number, if any, against which the appeal is preferred

7. Brief facts leading to the appeal

8. Prayer or relief sought

9. Grounds for the prayer or relief

10. Any other information relevant to the appeal

I I. Verification/authentication by the appellant.

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (REGULATION OF FEE AND COST) AMENDMENT RULES,2005

(TO BE PUBLISHED IN PART-II, SECTION 3, SUB-SECTION (i) OF THE GAZETTE OF  INDIA, EXTRA-ORDINARY DATED THE 27TH OCTOBER,2005)

Government of India

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

(Department of Personnel and Training)

————

 

New Delhi, dated the 27th October, 2005

Notification

G.S.R……..(E)._ In exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (b) and (c) of  sub-section (2) of section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (22 of  2005), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules to amend  the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005, namely :-

1. Short title and commencement – (1) These rules may be called the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) (Amendment) Rules, 2005.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the  Official Gazette.

2. In the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005,  in rule 4, for clause (d), the following clause shall be substituted, namely.-

“(d) for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of  rupees five for each subsequent hour (or fraction thereof).”

 [F.No. 34012/8(s)/2005-Estt. (B)]

 (T.Jacob)

 Joint Secretary to the Government of India

Note.- The Principal rules were published in the Gazette of India vide  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of  Personnel and Training) notification No. 34012/8(s)/2005-Estt. (B) dated  16th September, 2005 [G.S.R. No. 336 dated 1st October, 2005, Part II,  section 3, sub-section (i)]

 (T.Jacob)

 Joint Secretary to the Government of India

To

The Manager,

 Government of India Press,

 Mayapuri, New Delhi.

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (REGULATION OF FEE AND COST) (AMENDMENT) RULES,2006

MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS

(Department of Personnel & Training)

NOTIFICATION

New Delhi, the 17th May, 2006

G. S. R. 294(E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (b) and (c) of Sub-section (2) of Section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (22of 2005), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005, namely:-

1.Short Title and Commencement.-(1) These rules may be called the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Amendment Rules, 2006.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. In the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005,-

(a) in rule 3, after the words “bankers cheque”, the words “or Indian Postal Order” shall be inserted;

(b) in rule 4, after the words “bankers cheque”, the words “or Indian Postal Order” shall be inserted;

(c) in rule 5, after the words “bankers cheque”, the words “or Indian Postal Order” shall be inserted;

[F. No. 34012/8(S)/2005-Estt. (B)

C. B. PALIWAL, Jt. Secy.

Note:- The principle rules were published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (i), dated the ist October, 2005 vide number G. S. R. 336 dated the 16th September, 2005 and were amended vide number G. S. R. 649€ dated the 27th October, 2005.

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GUIDELINES REGARDING SUO MOTU DISCLOSURE UNDER SECTION 4 OF RTI ACT,2005.

No.1/6/2011-IR

Government of India

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Department of Personnel & Training

North Block, New Delhi

Dated the 15th April, 2013

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Implementation of suo motu disclosure under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005 – Issue of  guidelines regarding:

Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act lays down the information which by Public Authorities on a suo motu or proactive basis. Section 4(2) and Section 4(3)  prescribe the method of dissemination of this information. The purpose of suo motu disclosures under Section 4 is to place large amount of information in public domain on a  proactive basis to make the functioning of the Public Authorities more transparent and also  to reduce the need for filing individual RTI applications.  should be disclosed

2. Since the promulgation of the Act in 2005, large amount of information relating to  functioning of the government is being put in public domain. However, the quality and  quantity of proactive disclosure is not up to the desired level. It was felt that the weak  implementation of the Section 4 of the RTI Act is partly due to the fact that certain  provisions of this Section have not been fully detailed and, in case of certain other  provisions there is need for laying down detailed guidelines. Further there is need to set up  a compliance mechanism to ensure that requirements under section 4 of the RTI Act are  met.

3. In order to address the above, Government of India constituted a Task Force on suo  motu disclosure under the RTI Act, 2005 in May 2011 which included representatives of civil  society organizations active in the field of Right to Information, for strengthening  compliance with provisions for suo motu or proactive disclosure as given in Section 4 of the  RTI Act, 2005. Based on the report of the Task Force, the Government have decided to issue  guidelines for suo motu disclosure under section 4 of the RTI Act.

4. Guidelines for Central Ministries / Departments are on:

I) suo moto disclosure of more items under Section4;

ii) Guidelines for digital publication of proactive disclosure under Section 4;

iii) Detailing of Section 4(1)(b)(iv), 4(1)(b)(xi) and 4(1)(b)(xiv);

iv) Compliance mechanism for suo  moto disclosure (proactive disclosure) under the RTI Act, 2005.

5. The above guidelines are enclosed. However, it may be kept in mind that proactive disclosure should be done in local language so that it remains accessible to public. It should be presented in a form that is easily understood and if technical words are used they should be carefully explained. As provided in Section 4, disclosure should be made in as many mediums  as feasible and disclosures should be  kept up to date. The disclosure of information may be made keeping in mind the provisions of Section 8 to 11 of the RTI Act.

6. Central Government Ministries / Departments should undertake suo moto disclosure and ensure compliance based on these guidelines.

7. The enclosed guidelines may be brought to the notice of all for compliance.

 

(Manoj Joshi)

Joint Secretary

Tele.23093668

  1. All Ministries and Departments of the Government of India.
  2. Union Public Service Commission, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Cabinet Secretariat, Central Vigilance Commission, President’s Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office, Planning Commission, Election Commission.
  3. Central Information Commission.
  4. Staff Selection Commission, CGO Complex, New Delhi.
  5. O/o the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, 10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi

 

Copy to Chief Secretaries of  all the States  / UTs.

 ANNEXURE

Guidelines on suo motu disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act

1.0 Suo motu disclosure of more items under Section 4 Sub-section 4(2) of the RTI Act, 2005 requires every public authority to take steps in  accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section 4(1) to provide as much  information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of  communication, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to use the Act to  obtain information. Accordingly, the Public Authorities may proactively disclose the  following items also under the suo motu disclosure provisions of Section 4:

1.1 Information related to Procurement

1.1.1 Information relating to procurement made by Public Authorities including publication of notice/tender enquiries, corrigenda thereon, and details of bid awards  detailing the name of the supplier of goods/services being procured or the works contracts  entered or any such combination of these and the rate and total amount at which such  procurement or works contract is to be done should be disclosed. All information  disclosable as per Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure’s O.M. No 10/1/2011-PPC  dated 30th November, 2011 on Mandatory Publication of Tender Enquiries on the Central  Public Procurement Portal and O.M. No. 10/3/2012- PPC dated 30th March, 2012 on  Implementation of comprehensive end-to-end e-procurement should be disclosed under  Section 4. At present the limit is fixed at Rs. 10.00 lakhs. In case of procurements made  through DGS&D Rate Contracts or through Kendriya Bhandar/ NCCF, only award details  need to be published. However information about procurement which fall within the  purview of Section 8 of the RTI Act would be exempt.

1.2 Public Private Partnerships

1.2.1 If Public services are proposed to be provided through a Public Private Partnership  (PPP), all information relating to the PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain by the  Public Authority entering into the PPP contract/concession agreement. This may include  details of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), if any set up, detailed project reports,  concession agreements, operation and maintenance manuals and other documents  generated as part of the implementation of the PPP project. The documents under the  ambit of the exemption from disclosure of information under section 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act would not be disclosed suo motu. Further, information about fees, tolls, or other  kinds of revenue that may be collected under authorization from the Government,  information in respect of outputs and outcomes, process of selection of the private sector party may also be proactively disclosed. All payments made under the PPP project may also  be disclosed in a periodic manner along with the purpose of making such payment.

1.3 Transfer Policy and Transfer Orders

1.3.1 Transfer policy for different grades/cadres of employees serving in Public Authority  should be proactively disclosed. All transfer orders should be publicized through the website  or in any other manner listed in Section 4(4) of the Act. These guidelines would not be  applicable in cases of transfers made keeping in view sovereignty, integrity, security,  strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State and the exemptions covered under  Section 8 of the Act. These instructions would not apply to security and intelligence organizations under the second schedule of the RTI Act.

1.4 RTI Applications

1.4.1 All Public Authorities shall proactively disclose RTI applications and appeals received  and their responses, on the websites maintained by Public Authorities with search facility  based on key words. RTI applications and appeals received and their responses relating to  the personal information of an individual may not be disclosed, as they do not serve any  public interest.

1.5 CAG & PAC paras

1.5.1 Public Authorities may proactively disclose the CAG & PAC paras and the Action  Taken Reports (ATRs) only after these have been laid on the table of both the houses of the  Parliament. However, CAG paras dealing with information about the issues of sovereignty,  integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State and information  covered under Section 8 of the RTI Act would be exempt.

1.6 Citizens Charter

1.6.1 Citizens Charter prepared by the Ministry/Department, as part of the Result  Framework Document of the department/organization should be proactively disclosed and  six monthly report on the performance against the benchmarks set in Citizens Charter  should also be displayed on the website of public authorities.

1.7 Discretionary and Non-discretionary grants

1.7.1 All discretionary /non-discretionary grants/ allocations to state governments/  NGOs/Other institutions by Ministry/Department should be placed on the website of the  Ministry/Department concerned. Annual Accounts of all legal entities who are provided  grants by Public Authorities should be made available through publication, directly or  indirectly on the Public Authority’s website. Disclosures would be subject to provisions of Section 8 to 11 of the RTI Act.

1.8 Foreign Tours of PM/Ministers

1.8.1 A large number of RTI queries are being filed on official tours undertaken by  Ministers or officials of various Government Ministries/Departments. Information regarding  the nature, place and period of foreign and domestic tours of Prime Minister are already  disclosed on the PMO’s website.

1.8.2 As per DoPT’s OM No. 1/8/2012-IR dated 11/9/2012, Public Authorities may proactively disclose the details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by the  Minister(s) and officials of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India and above  and Heads of Departments, since 1st January, 2012. The disclosures may be updated once  every quarter.

1.8.3. Information to be disclosed proactively may contain nature of the official tour,  places visited, the period, number of people included in the official delegation and total cost  of such travel undertaken. Exemptions under Section 8 of the RTI Act, 2005 may be kept in  view while disclosing the information. These instructions would not apply to security and intelligence organisations under the second schedule of the RTI Act, 2005 and CVOs of  public authorities.

2.0 Guidelines for digital publication of proactive disclosure under Section 4

2.1 Section 4 lays down that information should be provided through many mediums  depending upon the level of the public authority and the recipient of information (for  example, in case of Panchayat, wall painting may be more effective means of dissemination  of information), and that more and more proactive disclosure would gradually be made  through Internet. There is need for more clear guidelines for web-based publication of  information for disclosure.

2.2 The Department of Information Technology has been working on setting of technical  standards for government websites and the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public  Grievances has published guidelines for websites of Government Departments. These  guidelines prescribe the manner in which websites need to be designed and how  information should be disclosed. While adhering to the standards of government guidelines  as laid down by Department of Information Technology and Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, the following principles additionally should also be kept in view to ensure that websites’ disclosures are complete, easily accessible, technology and  platform neutral and in a form which conveys the desired information in an effective and  user-friendly manner.

a) It should be the endeavor of all public authorities that all entitlements to citizens and  all transactions between the citizen and government are gradually made available  through computer based interface. The ‘Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2012’  under formulation in Government of India would provide the necessary impetus.

b) Websites should contain detailed information from the point of origin to the point of  delivery of entitlements/services provided by the Public Authorities to citizens.

c) Orders of the public authority should be uploaded on the website immediately after  they have been issued.

d) Website should contain all the relevant Acts, Rules, forms and other documents  which are normally accessed by citizens.5

e) Websites should have detailed directory of key contacts, details of officials of the  Public Authority.

f) It is obligatory under Section 4(1)(b)(xiv) of the RTI Act for  every Public Authority to  proactively disclose ‘details in respect of the information, available to or held by it,  reduced in an electronic form’. The website should therefore indicate which digitally  held information is made available publicly over the internet and which is not.

g) As departments reorganize their systems and processes to enable themselves for  electronic service delivery, it is recommended that the requirement of bringing due  transparency as provided in the RTI Act is given adequate consideration at the design  stage itself.

h) To maintain reliability of information and its real time updation, information generation in a digital form should be automatically updated on the basis of key  work outputs, like a muster roll and salary slip (NREGA in Andhra Pradesh) or formalization of a government order (Andhra Pradesh). Such an approach will lead to automation of proactive disclosure.

i) Information must be presented from a user’s perspective, which may require re-arranging it, simplifying it, etc. However, original documents I original formats should continue to be made available because these are needed for community monitoring of government’s functioning.

j) The ‘National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy’ by the Department of Science  and Technology is based on the principle that all publicly funded information should  be readily available. The policy has been notified in March, 2012 and the schedule  should be strictly adhered to.

k) Information and data should be presented in open data formats whereby it can be  pulled by different Application Protocol Interfaces to be used in different fashions  more appropriate to specific contexts and needs. Information/ data can, for instance, be presented in powerful visual ways using visualisation techniques. Such visual representation of information/ data can give insights that may remain largely hidden in a textual or tabular presentation of data. In some contexts, pictures and  audio/videos recordings etc may be more useful. There have been moves in some  parts of the country to video record Gram Sabha meetings. A picture of a NREGA  worksite, for instance, may tell much more than words can. All such different media  and forms should be used for proactive disclosure.

l) Every webpage displaying information or data proactively disclosed under the RTI  Act should, on the top right corner, display the mandatory field ‘Date last updated  (DD/MM/YY)’.

3.0 Guidelines for certain clauses of Section 4(1)(b) to make disclosure more effective

3.1 The elements of information listed in the various sub-clauses of Section 4(1)(b) must  be disclosed in an integrated manner. For example, the functions and responsibilities of a  public authority cannot be understood in isolation from the powers and functions of its  employees, the norms that inform its decision making processes and the rules, instructions and manuals that are used in the discharge of its functions. Description of one element presupposes the existence of another. So every public authority must endeavour to integrate the information mentioned in these sub-clauses while preparing voluntary disclosure materials.

3.2 Considering that disclosure in regard to certain sub-clauses have been relatively  weak, detailed guidelines for four sub-clauses are given below:

3.3 Guidelines for section 4(1)(b)(iii) – “the procedure followed in the decision-making processes, including channels of supervision and accountability”.

3.3.1 All government departments have specific duties and responsibilities under the  respective Allocation of Business Rules (AOB) issued by the appropriate Government. The constitutional provisions and statutes each department is required to implement are clearly laid down in the AOB. The manner of disposal of matters assigned to each Department/Ministry is described in the Transaction of Business Rules (TOB). Additionally, every department would have a specific set of schemes and development programmes which they are required to implement directly or through their subordinate offices or other designated agencies. These documents contain the specific operations that every Public Authority is required to undertake in the course of implementing the programme or scheme. Every operation mandated under the AOB read with the TOB would be linked to a specific decision-making chain. All government officers have to follow laid down office procedure manual or the other rules which gives details of how representations, petitions and applications from citizens must be dealt with.Templates, formats, and basic steps of decision-making are briefly explained in such manuals. These descriptions constitute the elements of decision-making processes in general.

3.3.2 Additionally, in the routine work of governance, government functionaries are required to make decisions in a discretionary manner but broad guiding principles are laid down in some rule or the other. For example, the General Financial Rules lay down procedures for a variety of operations relating to government finances. How sanction must be accorded for incurring expenditure; how losses to government must be reported; how responsibility for losses may be fixed on any government servant; how budgets, demand for grants are prepared and submitted; how public works must be sanctioned and executed; how commodities and services may be procured by a public authority; are all explained in these manuals which are updated from time to time. The challenge is to present a simplified version of the decision-making procedure that is of interest to a common citizen.

3.3.3 In view of the above, the guidelines for detailing the decision making processes are  as follows:

(a) Every public authority should specifically identify the major outputs/ tangible results/ services/ goods, as applicable, that it is responsible for providing to the public or to whosoever is the client of the public authority.

(b) In respect of (a) above, the decision-making chain should be identified in the form of a flow chart explaining the rank/grade of the public functionaries involved in the decision-making process and the specific stages in the decision-making hierarchy.

(c) The powers of each officer including powers of supervision over subordinates involved in the chain of decision-making must also be spelt out next to the flow chart or in a simple bullet-pointed format in a text-box. The exceptional circumstances when such standard decision-making processes may be overridden and by whom, should also be explained clearly. Where decentralization of decision-making has occurred in order to grant greater autonomy to public authorities, such procedures must also be clearly explained.

(d) This design of presentation should then be extended to cover all statutory and discretionary operations that are part of the public authority’s mandate under the AOB read with the TOB.

(e) In the event of a public authority altering an existing decision-making process or adopting an entirely new process, such changes must be explained in simple language in order to enable people to easily understand the changes made.

3.4 Guidelines for Section 4(1)(b)(iv) – “the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions”.

3.4.1 Primarily, the intention of this clause is that every public authority should proactively disclose the standards by which its performance should be judged. Norms may be qualitative or quantitative in nature, or temporal or statutory norms. In order to ensure compliance with this clause, public authorities would need to disclose norms for major functions that are being performed.

3.4.2 Citizen Charters, which are mandatory, for each central Ministry/Department/Authority, are good examples of vehicles created for laying down norms of performance for major functions and for monitoring achievements against those standards.

3.4.3 Wherever norms have been specified for the discharge of its functions by any statute or government orders, they should be proactively disclosed, particularly linking them with the decision making processes as detailed earlier. All Public Authorities should proactively disclose the following:

a) Defining the services and goods that the particular public authority/office provides directly (or indirectly through any other agency/contractor).

b) Detailing and describing the processes by which the public can access and/or receive the goods and services that they are entitled to, from the public authority/office along with the forms, if any prescribed, for use by both the applicant and the service providing agency. Links to such forms (online), wherever available, should be given.

c) Describing the conditions, criteria and priorities under which a person becomes eligible for the goods and services, and consequently the categories of people who are entitled to receive the goods and services.

d) Defining the quantitative and tangible parameters, (weight, size, frequency, etc,) and timelines, that are applicable to the goods and services that are accessible to the public.

e) Defining the qualitative and quantitative outcomes that each public authority/office plans to achieve through the goods and services that it was obligated to provide.

f) Laying down individual responsibility for providing the goods and services (who is responsible for delivery/implementation and who is responsible for supervision).

3.5 Guidelines for Section 4(1)(b)(xi)- “the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made”.

3.5.1 The public authorities while disclosing their budgets shall undertake the following:

(a) Keeping in view of the technical nature of the government budgets, it is essential that Ministries/Departments prepare simplified versions of their budgets which can be understood easily by general public and place them in public domain. Budgets and their periodic monitoring reports may also be presented in a more user-friendly manner through graphs and tables, etc.

(b) Outcome budget being prepared by Ministries/Departments of Government of India should be prominently displayed and be used as a basis to identify physical targets planned during the budgetary period and the actual achievement vis-à-vis those targets. A monthly programme implementation calendar method of reporting being followed in Karnataka is a useful model.

(c) Funds released to various autonomous organizations/ statutory organizations/ attached offices/ Public Sector Enterprises/ Societies/ NGOs/ Corporations etc. should be put on the website on a quarterly basis and budgets of such authorities may be made accessible through links from the website of the Ministry/Department. If a subsidiary does not have a website then the budgets and expenditure reports of such subsidiary authority may be uploaded on the website of the principal Public Authority.

(d) Wherever required by law or executive instruction, sector specific allocations and achievements of every department or public authority (where feasible) must be highlighted. For example, budget allocation and target focusing on gender, children, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and religious minorities should be specially highlighted. The sector-wise breakup of these targets and actual outcomes must be given in simplified form to enable the vulnerable segments of society to better understand the budgets of public authorities.

3.6 Guidelines for Section 4(1)(b)(xiv) – details in respect of information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form.

3.6.1 On the one hand, this clause serves as a means of proactively disclosing the progress  made in computerizing information under Section 4(1)(a) of the RTI Act in a periodic manner. On the other, it provides people with clarity about the kinds of electronic information that, although not held by the public authority, is available to them. For example the stocks of ration available with individual fair price shops may not be held by the District Civil Supplies office, but may be available at a subordinate formation.

3.6.2 Keeping in view the varied levels of computerization of records and documents in public authorities, data about records that have been digitized may be proactively disclosed on the respective websites, excluding those records /files /information that are exempted under Section 8. The data about digitized record may include the name of the record and any categorization or indexing used; the subject matter and any other information that is required to be compiled in relation to a file as prescribed by Manual of Office Procedure (and to be prescribed by MOP for electronic records that is under finalization by DARPG), the division/ section/ unit/ office where the record is normally held; the person, with designation, responsible for maintaining the record; and the life span of the record, asprescribed in the relevant record retention schedule.

4.0 Compliance with Provisions of suo motu (proactive) disclosure under the RTI Act

4.1 Each Ministry/Public Authority shall ensure that these guidelines are fully operationalized within a period of 6 months from the date of their issue.

4.2 Proactive disclosure as per these guidelines would require collating a large quantum of information and digitizing it. For this purpose, Ministries/Public Authorities may engage consultants or outsource such work to expeditiously comply with these guidelines. For this purpose, the plan/non-plan funds of that department may be utilized.

4.3 The Action Taken Report on the compliance of these guidelines should be sent, along with the URL link, to the DoPT and Central Information Commission soon after the expiry of the initial period of 6 months.

4.4 Each Ministry/ Public Authority should get its proactive disclosure package audited by third party every year. The audit should cover compliance with the proactive disclosure guidelines as well as adequacy of the items included in the package. The audit should examine whether there are any other types of information which could be proactively disclosed. Such audit should be done annually and should be communicated to the Central Information Commission annually through publication on their own websites. All Public Authorities should proactively disclose the names of the third party auditors on their website. For carrying out third party audit through outside consultants also,Ministries/Public Authorities should utilize their plan/non-plan funds.

4.5 The Central Information Commission should examine the third-party audit reports for each Ministry/Public Authority and offer advice/recommendations to the concerned Ministries/ Public Authorities.

4.6 Central Information Commission should carry out sample audit of few of the Ministries/ Public Authorities each year with regard to adequacy of items included as well as compliance of the Ministry/Public Authority with these guidelines.

4.7 Compliance with the proactive disclosure guidelines, its audit by third party and its communication to the Central Information Commission should be included as RFD target.

5.0 Nodal Officer

5.1 Each Central Ministry/ Public Authority should appoint a senior officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary and not below rank of Additional HOD in case of attached offices for ensuring compliance with the proactive disclosure guidelines. The Nodal Officer would work under the supervision of the Secretary of the Ministry/Department or the HOD of the attached office, as the case may be. Nodal Officers of Ministry/Department and HOD separately should also ensure that the formations below the Ministry/Department/Attached Office also disclose the information as per the proactive disclosure guidelines.

6.0 Annual Reports to Parliament/Legislatures

6.1 Government has issued directions to all Ministries/Departments to include a chapter  on RTI Act in their Annual Reports submitted to the Parliament. Details about compliance  with proactive disclosure guidelines should mandatorily be included in the relevant chapter in Annual Report of Ministry/Department.

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