*Four golden rules for writing effective RTI Applications*
Dear fellow Activists,
We often sit down to draft an RTI application in an angry and unrealistic mood. When we write RTI applications, our focus should be on getting information. Instead, we are thinking about stopping some wrongdoings, getting some officials and corrupt contractors penalized, making the authorities “answerable” for negligence etc, etc. At such times, we fail to think clearly about the items of information that we need.
Right to Information Act 2005 is a law, and effectiveness in legal work depends on using the law without anger, resentment and wishful thinking.
While asking for information, the 4 golden rules are:
1. Point to various specific documents. Your application should look like a shopping-list of documents.
2. Name documents using words from Sec 2(f) and Sec 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act – reports, logbooks, emails, advices, rules, regulations, manuals etc. Only after exhausting these should you use other similar names e.g. quality audit reports, correspondence etc. In case this information is denied, the similarity of wordings will help you to convince appellate authorities that your requested information is “records” and “information” that must be mandatorily given.
3. Don’t ask questions, don’t demand explanations, and don’t make allegations.
Don’t make your application sound like a letter of complaint or a letter-to-the-editor. Don’t preface it with a covering letter or an introductory paragraph. RTI applications should be emotionless and bland.
4.Avoid vague expressions and requests such as
Shri Sailesh Gandhi
Central Information Commissioner
(Circulated in the interest of the public giving them tips to frame good questions while submitting RTI Applications to get the information)