What is the time limit for getting information under the RTI Act?
The Right to Information Act, passed by the Parliament of India, requires any public authority subject to the act to respond "expeditiously," or "within thirty days" to inquiries seeking information covered by the act. Although the act does not specify, it is probably safe to assume that "whichever comes first" should be applied to that time frame. There are some variations as set forth below.
The official title of the act is:
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.
The law requires any agency covered by it to appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) who is responsible for responding to official written requests under the Act. If the request is applicable to an agency other than the one in which the PIO is operating, the PIO must transfer the request within five days. Public agencies are required to appoint an Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) who is responsible for forwarding the requests, or appeals from their denial to the PIO.
Specific time limits, paraphrased from the citation below, are:
Thirty days if the request is made directly to the PIO Thirty five days if the request is made to an APIO. If the request is transferred to another agency more applicable to the request, thirty days from the time the PIO of the receiving agency receives the request. Forty five days for allegations of corruption or human rights violations, unless human life or liberty is jeopardized, in which instance a reply must be made within 48 hours.
Section 7 (1) of the Right to Information Act requires that the information requested by an applicant to a Public Information Officer shall be furnished as ‘expeditiously as possible’. Further the Act specifies different time for furnishing the information.
Under normal circumstances – 30 days
If the information sought refers to the life or liberty of a person – 48 hrs
If the application is submitted to the Assistant Public Information Officer – 35 days
Where the third party is involved and the Public Information Officer decides to disclose the information – 40 days
Information pertaining to corruption or human rights violations from security agencies – 45 days