Dear Friends while this post may seem out of place to some mariner but I think this info is much required today when "aam aadmi" is considered a miserable creature, born to be tortured by MOST OF the Government Officials.
In this post I will detail my experience with Right to Information. This post deals with RTI for Passport but I will try to put in such a way that the info can be used for filling an RTI Application for any Government Matters.
RTI FOR PASSPORT
For keeping things simple I am not detailing the procedure for Passport application.
Few background for easier reference
The status at http://passportstatus.nic.in/ was Police verification not received and it remained same for good 7-10 days. Since nobody called so I went to the Police station for its status. For "FILE AAGE BADHAANE", I BRIBED 500 Rs total for 3 files.
Within a week we got a call for Police verification and we bribed 500 Rs again per person e.g. 1500 Rs total. The status of the passport still remained the same at the Passport status website.
During early January CID verification was done and we again bribed the "STANDARD RATE" of 500 Rs/person. So its more than 1000 Rs in bribe only per person. While I did not want to give the money but for my father who is more practical than me.
I checked the Passport Status website everyday in Jan and the status was still same "Police verification not received". My father started to talk of some agents ....It boiled me over ...come on !!! that's it!!! I have already tolerated enough corruption, and going the Agents way is like giving your power to someone and feeding him again and again and going totally blank of the status ...That's when I decided going the RTI way and filing RTI for Passport. I will detail each and every event step by step with brief explanation of what is RTI and how it can help you.
As told before the Passport status website is http://passportstatus.nic.in/ .
For filing a RTI Application for delay in Passport you need to know the time frame after which you can file your RTI Application. This is more easily said then done. Things might improve soon with the RTS (Right to Service) coming into picture but presently all Government services do not state this openly.
Anyways ...The Passport website briefs that passport should be delivered in 45 days of applying.
By the end January, delay in Passport for my relatives was more than 60 days. We could file the RTI application !!!
I wrote my RTI Application for my parents and wife by myself on a plain paper. Few points relating to how to file the RTI Application for Passport
Each Government Department is required to have a designated CPIO or PIO or Public Information Officer. You need to give the RTI Application to him. Remember to get the fees receipt and received statement on the xerox copy of your RTI Application by the Public Information Officer once he accepts your Application.
• How will you know who is the Public Information Officer (PIO) ?
Google for the website of the service for which you need to file the RTI. In my case it was "passport website". Each government organization website will have an RTI link these days to give you the details of the PIO. I got the details for Ranchi Passport Officer as Public Information Officer (PIO).
The Information can be found at http://www.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/pdf/RTI.pdf
I also tried http://www.rti.gov.in but found the website too difficult for any information. !!!
• Always remember one thing "GOVERNMENT WEBSITE WORKS BEST WITH INTERNET EXPLORER" !!! Yes they recommend it also in the footer. See our DG Shipping Site as an example. I am a fan of Firefox and it took me good 1/2 hour to realize that popups/links were not working. You can try the rti.gov.in website and see for yourself.
• I do not know about others but my meeting with the Public Information Officer, Passport Officer, Ranchi was not encouraging. He refused to accept my RTI application because of the following reasons :
> The RTI Application has to be separate for each applicant.
> Each applicant needs to sign the RTI Application.
> I cannot ask for any information for the delay in Passport of my relatives.
So what next when the Public Information Officer refuses RTI Application for Passport. There are two options for you (I chose both) :
 You can send your RTI Application through ACPIO or APIO or CAPIO or Assistant Public Information Officer.
Since the Public Information Officer is not in every city so government has assigned Assistant Public Information Officer to whom you can submit the RTI Application with the fees. Mostly these APIO are again government officials/workers in various department like : Police commissioner, Post masters etc. I chose this option and asked my Parents and wife to write separate RTI Application for Passport under Section 19 Of the Right to Information Act.
With 3 RTI Application for passport I went to the APIO e.g the head postmaster of Dhanbad Post Office and gave these application. He happily cooperated and took the application and postal order. I collected the confirmation date of receipt from them 2 days later.
The RTI Application of my Father for reference can be downloaded from : My RTI for Passport
The list of Assistant Public Information Officer (Postal) can be found at : http://www.indiapost.gov.in/CPIOs/CAPIOs.aspx Choose your state and you will get the details of APIO.
 Appeal directly to CIC (Central Information Commission) , the highest authority in this RTI Chain. I failed to understand why my RTI Application for Passport was refused by Public Information Officer as I was close blood relation to the applicant. I mean, when I can apply for their Passport, why cannot I request information for the delay in their passport. So I also applied to Central Information Commission (CIC) against this action of Public Information Officer (PIO) seeking information under Section 18 Of the Right to Information Act.
I applied online through Central Information Commission (CIC) Website and my personal opinion is that Central Information Commission (CIC) website : www.rti.india.gov.in is far more informative than rti.gov.in
You can find my application at http://www.rti.india.gov.in/rti_report.php?cat=compl&user_id=RC/UG/11/1241vb8l
My RTI Application to CIC for reference can be downloaded from My RTI for Passport
Technically speaking once you have submitted your RTI Application you will need to wait for reply from Public Information Officer within 30 days (35 days if sent by Post).
If Public Information Officer (PIO) replies earlier and you are not satisfied with the reply
If no reply is received after aforesaid days
then you can file again the RTI Application to the First Appellate Authority for concerned department.
So after the Public Information Officer (PIO) its the First Appellate Authority.
Remember that for appealing to the First appealate authority you need to file the RTI within 30 days from the date when you should have received the reply or putting it in more simpler terms RTI application to First Appealate authority should be made after 30 days and before 60 days from the date on which you requested information from Public Information Officer.
Soon I received a letter (dated 03rd Feb 2011) to the Police department with a copy to us on 09th Feb 2011 by concerned Public Information Officer, Passport Office, Ranchi. Since he never replied to us so I had to wait for good one month for his reply. On 03rd March 2011 my relatives filed the RTI for Passport to the First Appellate authority .
First Appellate authority is the designated officer senior in rank to the Public Information Officer. For finding the First appellate authority I used the same Passport website. Things have changed a lot since the time I filed my first RTI Application. The present website details both the PIO and First Appellate authority address. Previously I had to search a lot for the First Appellate authority for Passport. Also remember while you do not need to pay any fees for this application, still check your state law ....I did not pay any fees for my RTI Application to the First Appellate Authority.
Please enclose copies of every RTI application made, replies received, Postal Order and whatever you think is necessary for the case. Self-attest all photo-copies fo the documents.
It was at this step that I broke down. My friends started cursing me that in this country there is no hope and that I went the RTI way ?...Relatives said "Ab bhool jao ...jo aana bhi tha passport ko, woh ab nahin ayega"...On the Internet also I found remarks like "The First Appellate Authority is also from the same department and response has not be very encouraging". So finally I joined back the ship, totally fed up with this system.
To my fury the Public Information Officer called home 10 days after our RTI application to the First Appellate authority. He told that it is not his fault and the police is not doing their work. I was not there else there were "Specific" questions framed for such day but anyways my parents patiently talked to him. Not elaborating on his excuses, but the fact that finally my relatives received their Passport in late March 2011 after a total delay of 2 months from the maximum date specified for Passport delivery. Later I also received a letter from First Appellate Authority to the Public Information Officer stating to provide me with the requested Information. The Public Information Officer replied back stating that all 3 of my relatives received the Passport. While the PIO Never understood that he was still not answering my specific questions and if my parents had continued to the Central Information Council then it would have resulted in fine of 75000 Rs (3 application as demanded by him !!!). My parents stopped me from continuing with more application as they received their Passport.
From that moment I am a big fan of Right to Information. If you are in no rush, have patience, trust in your country and are ready to stop this Corruption in India go the Right (TI) way...;-)
Just for information that if even this would have failed then you need to file the RTI application to the Second appellate authority or the Central Information Commission (CIC). This is the final step in the chain.
Again the same thing like before e.g. once you have submitted your RTI Application to First Appellate authority you will need to wait for reply from First appellate within 30 days (35 days if sent by Post).
If First Appellate replies earlier and you are not satisfied with the reply
If no reply is received after aforesaid days
then you can file again the RTI Application to the Second appellate authority Or the CIC (Central Information Commission). So after the First Appellate authority its finally the Central Information Commission (CIC).
Remember that for appealing to the central information commission you need to file the RTI Application within 30 days from the date when you should have received the reply from First Appealate authority or putting it in more simpler terms RTI application to Central Information Commission (CIC) should be made after 30 days and before 60 days from the date on which you requested information from First Appeallate Authority.
Yet again you do not need to pay any fees for this Application.
If you are wondering that we are talking in days and its "Tarikh pe tarikh...tarikh pe tarikh ..!!" then the dates are required for imposing fines ...Yes !!! You read it right ...Fines will be imposed on the Public Information Officer and the concerned officer delaying the service.
This law casts a direct accountability on the officer for non-performance. If concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay (Max 25000 Rs) can be imposed by the Information Commissioner (read CIC). If the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25000 can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete or for rejecting your application for malafide reasons. This fine is deducted from the officer’s personal salary.
I suggest you should go through the RTI ACT for better understanding which could be downloaded from : http://www.rti.gov.in/rti-act.pdf
There is also a National RTI helpline. While I never called them but you can try them at : 9250-400-100