Procedure of Filing an Application
Application procedure.– (1) An applicant may make an application to a public information officer on an information request form or on plain paper and the public information officer shall acknowledge receipt of the application.
(2) A public body shall make easily available to the public the information request form both in printed and electronic form.
(3) An applicant shall not be required to provide reasons for request for information and shall only be required to provide an adequate description of the information and the details necessary to provide the requisite information.
(4) Where an applicant is having difficulty making a request, including because he cannot describe the information in sufficient detail or because he is disabled or illiterate, the concerned public information officer shall provide reasonable assistance to the applicant.
(5) Where an applicant has indicated a preferred form of access, including a physical copy, an electronic copy or an opportunity to inspect documents, the public body shall provide access in that form unless doing so is likely to interfere with its operations or harm the document and in that case the information shall be provided in such form as may serve the purpose.
(6) The public body shall not charge any fee for making a request other than cost of reproducing or sending the information in accordance with a centrally set schedule of costs stipulated by the Commission.
(7) The public information officer shall respond to an application as soon as possible and in any case within fourteen working days, provided that this may be extended by a maximum of a further fourteen working days where this is necessary, including because the request requires a search through a large number of records or consultation with a third party or any other public body, but the public information officer shall provide the information relating to life or liberty of a person within two working days of the receipt of the application.
(8) Where the public information officer decides not to provide the information, he shall intimate to the applicant the reasons for such decision along with a statement that the applicant may file an internal review or a complaint against the refusal under this Act.
(9) The information from, or the copy of, any public record supplied to the applicant under subsection (1) shall contain a certificate at the foot thereof that the information is correct or the copy is a true copy of such public record, and such certificate shall be dated, signed and stamped by the public information officer.
Request For Internal Review To Head of the Public Body
Internal review.– (1) If an applicant does not file a complaint with the Commission, he may request the head of the public body for internal review of any decision of the public information officer in relation to what the applicant regards as involving–
(a) a failure by the public information officer to comply with any provision of this Act including failure to communicate decision within the specified time; or
(b) unreasonable behaviour by the public information officer in the exercise of any discretion under the Act; or
(c) provision of incomplete, misleading or false information under the Act; or
(d) any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to information.
(2) An applicant shall, within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision of the public information officer or failure of the public information officer to provide information within the stipulated time, submit a request, in writing, under subsection (1) and specify remedy which the applicant seeks against the decision of the public information officer.
(3) The officer before whom an application for internal review is filed under this section may exercise any of the powers of the public information officer under this Act and shall, within fourteen days of the receipt of the application–
(a) confirm, modify or reverse the decision of the public information officer;
(b) notify the decision of internal review to the applicant including reasons for the decision; and
(c) order departmental action against the public information officer if found negligent in performance of duties under this Act.
Complaint to the Commission
Functions of the Commission.– (1) The Commission may–
(a) conduct an inquiry, on its own accord or on a complaint, and may direct a public body to disclose information to an applicant or in a proactive manner;
(b) determine the public interest in terms of section 13;
(c) resolve any inconsistencies in the application of the provisions of this Act or the rules or regulations.
(2) The Commission shall decide a complaint within thirty days of its receipt or, for good reasons to be recorded in writing, within sixty days.
(3) The Commission may exercise the powers of a civil court to–
(a) summon and enforce attendance of persons, compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or information;
(b) examine and inspect information;
(c) receive evidence on affidavits;
(d) requisition information from any office; and
(e) issue summons for witnesses or documents.
(4) While inquiring into a complaint, the Commission or any person authorized by the Commission, may examine any information on spot.