In this act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)          Appropriate government means, in relation to a public authority which is established, constituted, owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly –

(i)   by the central Government or a Union Territory administration, the central Government;

(ii)  by the State Government, the State Government;

Explanation: government. On central level, center government and on state level, state government.

It is noted that appropriate government has power to appoint chief information commissioner and other information commissioners, on central or state level, as the case may be, under the section 12 and 15 of this act.


(e) Competent authority” means:

I.                    the Speaker in the case of the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a state or a Union territory having such Assembly and the chairman in the case of the council of States or a Legislative council of a State”;

II.                  The chief Justice of India in the case of the Supreme court;

III.                The chief Justice of the High court in the case of a High court;

IV.                The President or the Governor, as the case may be, in the case of other authorities established or constituted by or under the constitution;

V.                  the administrator appointed under article 239 of the constitution;

Explanation: competent authority means, authority which have powers to make rules for public authorities under the section 2(1) (g) and section 28 of this act. Generally, these rules implies the rules about the fees.

Rules can be made by the Speakers of the respective houses, the Chief Justices of the respective Courts, Governors of respective states and the President.


(f) information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;

Explanation: information would mean anything which exists, in any form with a public authority. The specific instances – records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, reports, samples, models, files etc.

Information relating to any private body, although can not be obtain directly, but can be obtained through a public authority if the law allows the public authority to access it.

Look at some illustrations:

                Information about various banks, including private banks – from Reserve Bank of India.

                Information about a private unaided school – from the Education Department.

                Information about a Public Limited Company – from the Registrar of Companies or SEBI if the law empowers them to ask for it.

                Information about a Cooperative Society – from the registrar of Cooperative Societies.

                Information about Trusts – from the Charities Commissioner.

Note: There is some ambiguity on the term “accessed”. It means any information which the authority can ask, or usually supposed to acquire under the provisions of this act, or under any law.

It is also noted that only the information ‘normally’ and routinely accessed by the Public authorities, comes under the ambit of RTI, one can not ask to public authority to generate new information.


(g) Prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act by the appropriate Government or the competent authority, as the case may be;

Explanation: prescribed means, The rules prescribed for fees, formats for applications, appeals etc. these rule making power rest in appropriate government (section 2(1)(a)”, and competent authority “section 2(1)(e) of this act.


(h) Public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self Government established or constituted —

a)            by or under the constitution;

b)            by any other law made by Parliament;

c)            by any other law made by State Legislature;

d)            by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any--

I.                    body owned, controlled or substantially financed;

  (ii) Non-Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government”

Explanation: public authority includes: All the three wings of government: legislature, executive and some an extent judiciary; all governmental departments, Municipal Bodies, Panchayats, public sector undertakings, bodies like UPSC and so on. It also included the bodies established, owned, controlled, substantially financed, non-governmental organizations which receives funds from the government, no matter directly or indirectly etc. comes under the purview of RTI act.

Important terms:

Subsection (d): refers to that kind of organizations, which are created by a special notification. For example: universities.

Owned: the word owned gave the expression that whenever over 51% investments in a body lies with any entity, it is said to be owned by that entity.

Substantially financed: it means, whenever the more than 26% of the share lies with the government of a private entity, termed as substantially financed organization.



(i)                       Record” includes

(a)          any document, manuscript and file;

(b)          any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;

(c)          any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and,

(d)          any other material produced by a computer or any other device;

Explanation: record means, which is available or accessible for the any public authority, no matter in any form it be.


(j) Right to Information” means the Right to Information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to-

(i)            inspection of work, documents, records;

(ii)          taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records;

(iii)         taking certified samples of material;

(iv)        obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;

Explanation: Right to Information entitles the applicant to inspection of work or documents and records. Further, it also entitled to an information seeker to take notes, or ask for extracts, or certified copies of any records.


(n) Third party” means a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority.

Explanation: The third party has to be someone apart from the applicant and the Public authority, from whom the information is sought. However, another public authority would also be considered as a third party.

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