New Delhi: A government-appointed committee has rejected the need for having a standard format for replying to applications filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
It also suggested that Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs), who replies to RTI queries, should mention email ID and telephone numbers among others mandatorily while answering the applications.
A three-member committee was recently formed by the government to evolve model format for RTI replies, comprising one representatives each from Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), nodal department to see implementation of the transparency law, Ministry of Home Affairs and Central Information Commission.
During its meeting held late last month, the Committee observed that there is neither any provision in the RTI Act or rules for a model or standard format of filing application or replies.
"There should not be a model or standard format for reply to the RTI application, as there is no such provision in the RTI Act or the RTI rules," the panel said in its report submitted to the DoPT.
However, the panel suggested certain mandatory points for adherence by the CPIOs.
"The name, designation, official telephone no and email ID of the CPIOs should be clearly mentioned (in the RTI replies). In case the information requested for is denied, reasons for denial quoting the relevant sections of the RTI Act should be clearly mentioned," it suggested.
In case the information pertains to other public authority and the application is transferred, details of the public authority to whom the application is transferred should be given, the panel said.
In the concluding para of the reply, there should be clearly mentioned that the First Appeal, if any, against the reply of the CPIO may be made to the First Appellate Authority within 30 days of receipt of reply of CPIO.
"The name, designation, address, official telephone no and e-mail ID of the First Appellate Authority should also be clearly mentioned," it said.
Wherever the applicant has requested for certified copies of the documents or records, the CPIO should certify the documents or records by putting a seal of his name, designation and signing with date.
"Above the seal, the remarks that 'documents/records provided under the RTI Act' should be endorsed," the panel has suggested.
The DoPT will issue necessary guidelines on the basis of the committee's recommendation.