The degree of your success with RTI depends upon how you frame your questions. Be specific, clear and comprehensive about the information you need or the work and records that you want to inspect, or the
certified samples of materials that you want to collect. Do not hesitate to write them in as much detail as is necessary. Write them in the form of a list. Make sure each point deals with just one piece of information or work or record. And then write as many points or sub-points as you want. Do not hesitate even if the whole application becomes thicker than an encyclopaedia.
2. Try to limit one application to one subject. You are more likely to get more information within the time limits in this way rather than by stuffing a lot of related questions and requests in a single application.
3. The more you already know about the department and its functioning, the more effective your questions will be. Therefore, try to get the application verified by someone who is from within the system.
4. Government departments normally ignore your complaints and reports of corruption. To force them to act on them, we have devised a highly successful strategy as follows:
a. Send a complaint to the department concerned.
b. Make sure that you send a copy of this letter to other appropriate agencies such as CBI, CVC, Anti-Corruption Branch of the state government, etc. by registered or speed post.
c. A week after sending this letter, file your application for information with not only the public authority, but also CBI, CVC and other anti-corruption agencies to whom copies were sent. The applications should be to seek status of your complaint.
d. Since the CBI, CVC etc. have to provide you the information requested, they will first seek this information from the concerned public authority by writing to them.
e. Imagine a government officer receiving a letter from CBI talking about corruption and seeking a status report. YOUR WORK IS CONSIDERED DONE!
5. Use faxes and emails, but make sure you have a proof of every communication that you send to PIOs, appellate authorities, and Commissions. Regd./Speed post are the best methods for sending applications, complaints and appeals. For reminders and the rest, use normal post UPC (“Under Postal Certificate”).
6. After filing your application, it is best to send a reminder by fax, email or phone after 10 days. In some cases, the public authorities simply lose or forget about the application. Therefore, a reminder will help.
7. Send a fortnightly reminder to CIC/SICs.
8. If you face any resistance, incompetence, inefficiency or lack of interest in implementing the RTI in any of the Public Authorities, do bring this to the notice of the Commission by writing to them.
9. Many state governments had enacted their own RTI laws. Now, however, the central RTI Act has come into force and it is more powerful and effective. So you do not need to use any of the state RTI laws.
10. Do forward us a summary of your success story together with copies of all documents upon receipt of information. There is always something to be learnt from each application. We will try to post every application on the website for the benefit of others.