How to File First Appeal Under the RTI Act
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How to File First Appeal Under the RTI Act

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In today's democratic society, the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) empowers citizens to access information held by public authorities. However, there may be instances where the Public Information Officer (PIO) fails to respond to an RTI application or provides an unsatisfactory reply. In such cases, the RTI Act provides a statutory remedy known as the First Appeal. This guide will walk you through the process of filing a First Appeal, ensuring that you can exercise your right to information effectively.


Understanding the First Appeal under the RTI Act

The First Appeal is a recourse available to RTI applicants when they encounter the following situations:

  1. No response from the PIO within the stipulated time limit.
  2. Unsatisfactory reply or incorrect information provided by the PIO.
  3. Exorbitant fees demanded by the PIO.
  4. Misleading information supplied by the PIO.

As per Section 19(1) of the RTI Act, the First Appeal must be filed with the designated First Appellate Authority (FAA), who holds a higher rank than the PIO. The FAA's details are typically included in the PIO's decision letter. If the details are not provided, you can search the public authority's website or contact the office of the public authority to obtain the necessary information.

Who Can File a First Appeal?

The following individuals have the right to file a First Appeal:

  1. RTI applicants who have not received a response or received an unsatisfactory response from the PIO.
  2. Third parties to whom the information sought relates or has been supplied and treated as confidential.

Situations for Filing First Appeals and Prescribed Time Limits

The table below outlines the situations in which you can file a First Appeal and the corresponding time limits:

Situation for Filing First AppealTime Limit for Filing First Appeal
PIO did not respond within 30 daysAfter 30 (+7 days for postal transit time) but within 60 days
PIO did not respond within 30 days (application submitted through APIO)After 35 (+7 days for postal transit time) but within 60 days
RTI application transferred to another PIO, but no response within 30 daysAfter 30 (+7 days for postal transit time) but within 60 days
PIO issued notice to third party under section-11(1), but not decided the application within 40 daysAfter 40 (+7 days for postal transit time) but within 70 days
PIO's decision under Section-11(3)Within 30 days from the date of receipt of PIO’s decision
Applicant is not satisfied with the decision of PIO or fee demanded is exorbitant or incorrect, incomplete information is supplied, etc.Within 30 days from the date of receipt of decision of PIO by Applicant

How to Draft Your First Appeal

When drafting your First Appeal, it is crucial to include the following components:

1. Brief Facts

Begin by narrating the brief facts that led to the First Appeal. Mention the filing date of the RTI Application, the information sought, the PIO's decision or deemed denial, and any incorrect or incomplete information supplied.

2. Grounds for Appeal

Present logical reasons indicating how and why the PIO erred in their decision. Support your arguments with provisions of rules that back your stance or highlight the correct course of action expected from the PIO. Each ground should be written as a separate point.

3. Personal Hearing

Mention your desire to be heard by the FAA, as per the principles of natural justice. If attending the hearing is inconvenient, you may choose not to include this request in your appeal. Personal appearance for First Appeal hearings is not mandatory.

4. Prayers

Clearly indicate the decision required from the FAA. Some common prayers include condoning the delay in submission of the appeal, granting a personal hearing, directing the PIO to provide information within a specific timeframe, or directing the PIO to supply information free of cost. Sign the appeal at the right bottom with the date.

5. Appeal Fee & Format

The Central Government does not prescribe a fee or specific format for First Appeals under the RTI Act. However, certain states have prescribed fees and formats. Before drafting your First Appeal, check the RTI Rules of your respective state for any applicable fees and the prescribed format.

6. Documents to Attach

Attach self-attested photocopies of the following documents with your First Appeal:

RTI Application
PIO's reply (if any)
Any other supporting documents

7. Submitting the First Appeal

Submit your First Appeal by Speed Post or Registered Post with Acknowledgment Due (AD). Keep track of the delivery status through the India Post website and retain a printout of the delivery status as proof. Avoid using courier services for submitting RTI documents.

Sample Facts and Grounds for First Appeal

Below is an example of how to structure the facts and grounds for a First Appeal:

Brief Facts of the Case:

Date of filing the RTI Application: [Date]
Information sought: [Specify the information]
PIO's decision or deemed denial: [Describe the decision or lack of response]
Incorrect or incomplete information supplied: [Specify the details]

Grounds of Appeal:

Ground 1: [State the first ground for appeal]
Ground 2: [State the second ground for appeal]
Ground 3: [State the third ground for appeal]

Personal Hearing:

Request for personal hearing before the FAA: [State your preference]


Prayer 1: [Specify the first prayer]
Prayer 2: [Specify the second prayer]
Prayer 3: [Specify the third prayer]

Remember to adapt the facts, grounds, and prayers section to suit your specific case.


Filing a First Appeal under the RTI Act is a crucial step in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively exercise your right to information and seek redress for any grievances faced during the RTI process. Stay informed, be persistent, and make use of the appeals and complaints procedures provided by the RTI Act to uphold your right to information.

For the latest updates on legal education and the RTI Act, visit Legalstix Law School. Our experienced faculty members are committed to providing comprehensive and flexible preparation for aspiring law students. Trust Legalstix Law School to guide you on your journey towards a successful legal career.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a legal professional for specific guidance on your RTI-related matters.

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