'Must reply to RTI query on person's life in 2 days'

'Must reply to RTI query on person's life in 2 days'

DoPT update also asks seekers to be very specific

'Must reply to RTI query on person's life in 2 days'

Thirty days may be the window for replying to an RTI query in normal circumstances but if the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it should be given within 48 hours.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has come out with an updated guide on the RTI Act, which also asks the information seeker not to list out grievances in the RTI application but clearly mention which information or record he would like to seek.

According to the guide, which is updated now, it is a mandatory measure according to the Section 26 of the transparency law to provide information to a citizen who wishes to use the RTI Act in an easily comprehensible form and manner.

However, the DoPT has said that in the event of a conflict between the guide and government orders or instructions on the subject, the latter would prevail. A senior government official said many in the bureaucracy and public are not aware of the 48-hour deadline for RTI reply in certain circumstances.

“In 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,” the guide said.

In the instructions for information seekers, the guide said if the drafting of the application was such that it pinpoints towards the specific documents required in relation to the information sought, there would be less scope of ambiguity, thereby resulting in less chances of denial of information by the Public Information Officer.

“For example, instead of simply asking why my area is not being cleaned, cleaning schedule of the area should be asked. Similarly, instead of asking when we will get water supply, water supply planning of the area should be asked,” it said.

The guide also said a citizen has the 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.

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