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How to draft an RTI petition?

By Bhavneet Vohra June 29, 2016

Abraham Lincoln rightly quoted “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

 What is Right to Information?

Right to information is a fundamental right of any citizen of India to seek any government related information through this RTI act 2005. The Right to Information Act (2005) is one of the key legislation enacted to guarantee the right and freedom of every citizen of India to get the information related to our government dealings, both at centre and the states. It is the most important medium in order to bring transparency in the functioning of the government system.

Why was Right to information introduced?

India attained Independence on 15th August 1947 and it’s been more than 68 years since India’s independence but it is only since 1996 that the government’s stranglehold on freedom of information has been lessened.

The first step that India took towards recognizing the Right to Information as a basic and most essential human right was only in the year 1996, when the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) was established. But the things did not only end here, after this also it took almost a decade to conceptualise the Right to Information (RTI) Act and to bring it into effect. It was only in the early 1990s when Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) movement started campaigning for the Right to Information. It was only through this movement that not only the citizens but also the administration of the country got inspired. The advocacy work done by MKSS gave rise to the NCPRI, which set out to advocate for the right to information at the national level in 1996.

In the year 1999 Ram Jethmalani who was the Union Minister for Urban Development issued an administrative order that enabled citizens to inspect and receive photocopies of files from his ministry.

But eventually it turned out to be very disappointing and dissatisfactory as the Cabinet Secretary did not approve that order at that time which further encouraged the campaign to gain speed and momentum. Due to this the first national Freedom of Information Bill (2000) was introduced in Parliament in 2002. We can rightly conclude that it was only due to the long struggle by MKSS and NCPRI campaigns, that the Right to Information Act formally came into force on 12 October 2005.



All citizens are entitled to seek the information. The RTI  allows citizens to ask for records, documents, circulars, contracts, reports, papers, emails, memos and all other information held in print or electronic form from the public authorities, i.e. all the governing bodies. There are certain sections of administrative activities that are exempt from the RTI Act, details of which can be found in Section 8 and 9 of RTI Act 2005. It also entitles the citizens to physically inspect the records that have been duly maintained by the government and its administrative bodies.


The procedure to file a RTI petition can be explained by these 8 easy steps which are stated below: (

STEP 1: The first step is to identify the department as some subjects come under the purview of State Governments or local authority such as the municipal administration/ panchayat, while on the other hand some under Central Government.

STEP 2: We can write out the information by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area or even we can ask the Public Information Office to put it in writing.

STEP 3: The Application is to be addressed to the State/ Central Public Information Officer, with the name of the office and the correct complete address from which we seek information. It is to be clearly mentioned “Seeking information under RTI Act, 2005” in your subject line.

STEP 4: It is important to state your request specifically, with detailed questions, and also mention the period/ year your request falls into. We can also ask for documents or their extracts, if required by making a payment of Rs 2 per page.

STEP 5: Pay Rs. 10 to file the plea. This can be done in the form of cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The stamp should be affixed to the application. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) need not make the payment but have to attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application.

STEP 6: The application should be provided with a full name and address, contact details, email address and sign the application clearly. It is also necessary to put in the date and name of your town.

STEP 7: It is better to take a photocopy of the application for future references. We can send our application by post or hand it in personally to the department concerned and we should not forget to get an acknowledgement.

STEP 8: The law mandates that information be provided in 30 days. If this does not happen, you can file an appeal. The first appeal should be addressed to ‘The Appellate Authority’ with the name of the department and the address. The appellate authority is mandated to revert in 30 days from the date of receipt of the appeal. If the Appellate authority fails to reply, further appeals lie with the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission.


For the easy convenience below is the SAMPLE FOR AN RTI APPLIACTION FORM





The Public information Officer




PIN: _______________________


Subject: Request for Information under Right to Information Act 2005.

I Sri / Smt /Ms. __________________________________________________________

Son/Daughter/wife of Shri/Smt/Ms. __________________________________________

resident of ______________________________________________________________,

telephone number (with STD Code) ____- _____________________ and/or mobile

number: ______________________________ wish to seek information as under


I hereby inform that following formalities have been completed by me:

1. That I have deposited the requisite fee of Rs. _____/- by way of Cash / banker

cheque / Draft / Postal Order/ others ___________________ ) favoring

__________________________________ dated ________________.

2. I need the photocopy of the documents and I had deposited the cost of the

photocopy of Rs. ____/- for _____ (Number of Pages)


3. I had deposited sum of Rs. _____/- for the charges of CD. (strike out which ever

is not applicable)

4. That I belong to Category of below Poverty Line (BPL): Yes / No

(Strike whichever is not applicable). If yes, I am attaching the valid photocopy of

the certificate. Yes / No

5. That I am ‘Citizen’ of India and I am asking the information as ‘Citizen’.

6. I assure that I shall not allow/ cause to use/ pass/share/display/ or circulate the

information received in any case and under any circumstances, with any person or

in any manner which would be detrimental to the Unity and Sovereignty or

against the Interest of India.

Signature of the Applicant



This article is written by-

Bhavneet Singh Vohra

Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies

Tags: RTI , rights , right to information , petition , information , RTI ACt 2005

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Comments 1

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Thanks for the clear explanation about RTI appln.



Prem Kumar Reddy Variyal ⋅ about 5 years ago

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