The Supreme Court is Thursday launched an online portal that will help citizens file and access applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in matters related to the court. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said that the portal would be ready to use shortly.
On Thursday, the CJI said, “Before we start with the mentioning (of cases), I wanted to say that the RTI portal is ready. It will start working in 15 minutes. In case, there are some problems, please bear with us. If there is some problem, get back to me…I will be more than happy to look into it.”
What is this online portal, why was it set up and how can one file an RTI on it? We explain.
What is the online RTI portal?
The online RTI portal has been initiated to make it convenient for people to access information about the Supreme Court. So far, RTI applications at the Supreme Court had to be filed only via post.
Various public interest litigation (PILs) had been filed before the Supreme Court seeking an online RTI portal for the Court. Students said that although the committee had provided a mechanism for filing petitions online, it did not provide the same when it came to the filing of RTI applications.
Earlier last week, the bench headed by the CJI was hearing a petition filed by two law students, Akriti Agarwal and Lakshya Purohit, and said that the portal was “practically ready for being launched.” The online portal is likely to streamline responses of the Supreme Court under the Right to Information Act.
How does the online portal work?
The online portal can be accessed at https://registry.sci.gov.in/rti_app.
Essentially, the process of filing an RTI in the Supreme Court is the same as how one normally files the application.
This web portal can be used only by Indian citizens to file RTI applications, first appeals and to make payment for fees, and copying charges, under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). The website makes it clear that only those who wish to obtain information on the Supreme Court can access it and any other information from public authorities can be done through the respective Central/State government portal.
First, an applicant must create an account and sign in to the portal, after which they can fill out the RTI application. While registering the account, it is mandatory to provide your address proof.
After clicking the “Submit button”, the applicant has to fill in the required details on the page that will appear, and any supporting document/annexures must be attached as a PDF document in the “Supporting document” section within the specified file size.
The applicant can pay the prescribed fee through internet banking, credit/debit card of Master/Visa or UPI. The fee per RTI application is ₹10.
Any applicant who is Below Poverty Line (BPL) is exempted from paying the application fee under the RTI Rules, 2012. The applicant must attach and upload a copy of the BPL certificate issued by the government.
On successful submission of an application, a unique Registration/Diary number would be generated and the same should be referred to by the applicant for any future references and correspondences, the website mentions. If in case the applicant has made a payment and does not receive the registration number, then the applicant should wait for 24-48 hours for the number to be generated. The guidelines on the website mention that an applicant must not retry or make an additional attempt to make the payment again.
When can you expect a response?
By law, RTIs must be replied to within 30 days. In fact, in life and death cases, RTIs must be answered within 48 hours.