Indian Election Commission launches online Right to Information portal
On 6 June, the Indian Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Om Prakash Rawat and Election Commissioners Mr Sunil Arora and Mr Ashok Lavasa, launched the online Right to Information Portal of Election Commission of India.
A press release published on 6 June stated that the online portal aims to help applicants obtain information under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
The Right to Information Act, 2005 was created to empower citizens, promote transparency and hold public authorities accountable for the access and proper use and processing of information. Under the Act, citizens have the right to seek information from public authorities if it is held under their control, it gives them the right to attain certified copies of documents and records, and obtain digital information in the form of tapes, videos, floppies and diskettes, etc. Among a number of other rights provided by the RTI, the Act citizens have the right to inspection of work and to be provided with information that is at par with Members of Parliament.
According to the press release, the portal can be accessed by citizens on the Home Page of the Commission’s website under the link `Online RTI’. The release also mentioned that there is an online payment gateway to pay the requisite fees under the RTI Act. The portal offers online help and will respond to applications and first appeals. Each applicant will be alerted by a notification from the Government through SMS (Short Message Service) and E-Mail. The offline method of applications will also be continued, that is a submitting a handwritten or typed application, in the official language of the area the applicant is sending it from, to the Government.
Through the portal, citizens can file RTI applications and first appeals to the Election Commission of India only. Applications and appeals cannot be filed for other ministries or public authorities under the Central or State Government through the portal.
According to the release, in the past, the online RTI Portal applications of the Department of Personnel and Training (under the Ministry of Personal, Public Grievances and Pensions) were downloaded and have been, excluding a few, disposed of by responding to the applicants with the information they were seeking. The release noted that the remaining applications and first appeals will be disposed of shortly.
Image Credit: RTI India - Online RTI Twitter