Procedure for filing Right to Information Act (RTI)

What is the RTI Act?

The Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens.” Simply put, it allows citizens of the country to request information from any public authority about its work, actions, etc and make our democracy work for the people in real sense. The Act is a big step towards making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government.

Bodies covered under the RTI Act

Bodies which are covered by the Central Act are referred to as "Public Authorities". Section 2(h) of the Central Act clarifies the term "Public Authorities" mean:

  • All Central, State and local level bodies which are set up under the Constitution or under any other State or Central statue. This means that it covers the President, the legislature and the judiciary and all related Ministries, departments and agencies.
  • Anybody owned, controlled or substantially financed or any non-Government organization substantially financed directly or indirectly by Government. This means that even some private bodies which receive funding from the Government can be asked for information. 

Unfortunately, section 24(1) of the Central Act goes on to limit coverage by entirely excluding some bodies from the law such as security or intelligence agencies. Section 24 actually allows Governments to add bodies to the list of exempt agencies, so you should consider checking whether any such Rules have been made where you are considering making an application to a security or intelligence agency. 

At the State level, coverage is variable, with some laws covering more bodies than others. Most of the State Acts do not cover private bodies, so you may not be able to access information from a private telephone company or electricity body. 

If you believe that your application relates to more than one body, you should try to decide which body you think has the closest connection with the information you are seeking and then send your application to them. In any case, the relevant body should be under a duty to consult with any other relevant body to make sure that all the necessary information is collected. Notably, the Central Act actually includes a specific requirement that applications which are directed to the wrong body are transferred to the body which does hold the information. This recognises that the public should not be expected to chase lots of different bodies because this will be costly and complicated.

Method of filing an RTI application:

An RTI application can be filed in one of three ways: 

  • Online: Visit and login to file an RTI.
  • Via post: send your application to the concerned department via speed post or registered post.
  •  In person: Visit the Public Information Officer/ First Appellate Authority (FAA) of the concerned department and he/she will guide you further. 

For example, if you reside in Bangalore and have queries about the water supply in your area, you can approach the municipal body in charge of supplying water to your area (in this case, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board), either through their website or at their office

How do I file an RTI application?

The procedure to file for an RTI is fairly simple. There are two types of Appeal which are as follows: 

Procedure for first appeal 

  • Identify which department your query concerns and who the Public Information OfficerFirst Appellate Authority (FAA) there is.

          For Central Public Authorities, check out this website. For State Public Information Officers, go here.

  • Write a simple, to-the-point application form detailing your questions clearly. Also mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005’ in your subject line 
  • Pay the fee of Rs. 10. Payment can be made via Demand Draft or Indian Postal Order or can even be submitted to the treasury. Proof of payment (such as challans and receipts) must be enclosed with the application. Online options for the payment are also available here
  • Submit the application either via post, online or in person. 

Important Note :

Please take a photocopy of the application and keep one with you for future reference. Send your application by post or hand it in personally to the department concerned. Don’t forget to get an acknowledgement.


When can I expect a response to my RTI request?

By law, RTIs must be replied:

  • First Appellate Authority (FAA) has to decide on the appeal within 30 days, from the date of receipt of first appeal. She/he can take a further 15 days (total 45 days), provided they give the reasons for the delay in writing.
  • 48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a person
  • 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the application for information is given to Assistant Public Information Officer.  

RTI - Second Appeal 

However, if the appellate authority (FAA) fails to pass an order on the appeal, within the prescribed period, or if the petitioner is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate authority. They have the option of escalation to file a second appeal, with the Central Information Commission. The second appeal must be 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. 

The appeal made to the Central Information Commission (CIC) should contain the following information:

1. Name and address of the appellant.

2. Name and address of the Public Information Officer, whose decision is being appealed.

3. Particulars of the order including number, if any, against which the appeal is preferred.

4. Brief facts leading to the appeal.

5. If the appeal is preferred against deemed refusal, particulars of the application including number and date and name and address of the Public Information Officer, to whom the application was made and relief sought.

6. Grounds for the relief sought.

7. Any other information that you think will help the Commission in deciding the appeal.


The appeal made to the Informational Commission should be accompanied by the following


1. Self-attested copies of the order or documents against which appeal is made.

2. Copies of the documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in the appeal.

3. An index of the documents referred to in the appeal.


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