Right to information

iPleaders, working on access to justice, and OnlineRTI, committed to transparency and accountability through use of RTI, have teamed up to announce an RTI Competition with the objective of bringing in the next level of transparency in the system.

We are informing our readers so that you have the opportunity to participate and do your bit in bringing in transparency by participating in the RTI Competition. You will need to file an RTI with a public department seeking information that is relevant for people, and write a 1500 word article based on the response, that meets the quality standards of this blog. The article will be published in your name.

All participants in the RTI Competition will get access to a free RTI course by iPleaders (upgraded version will be released by January 10, 2017) to train you on basic aspects of RTI filing and drafting. At the end of the course, you will have to take a quiz. Everyone who successfully completes it will receive Completion Certificate for the RTI Course by iPleaders. Winners will receive prizes ranging upto INR 15,000. For more details about the competition, dates and deadlines for submitting entries, visit: https://onlinerti.com/competition

Tips and ideas for writing RTIs

Topic identification is critical. By way of example, you could look at the following topics:

  • Status of implementation of a specific law (how many cases filed, is the authority constituted, etc.)
  • Notification on a particular area of law (there are many areas on which notifications are not published and what are not accessible online, such as, for example, rates of wages prescribed for salesmen, journalists or cinema workers. You can find tons of examples in state-level labour laws.)
  • Data about the kinds of decisions passed by a specific regulator (such as the Adjudicating Officer under the Information Technology Act)
  • Number of companies who made the mandatory CSR contribution, etc.
  • Information on certain kinds of public bodies, charitable trusts, etc.

Effectiveness of your article is one of the criteria for winning the prize. You will need to obtain sufficient background information and data to build a relevant write-up. You can even create a group to share research and ideate about what issues to file an RTI on.

Make sure your write-up includes the following:

  • The problem area and why you identified the specific problem
  • Give a background of the applicable statutory and legal provisions
  • The questions you asked
  • Relevant part of the answers you received
  • Attach the response you received

You can even formulate your own groups to research and identify interesting topics.

Why should you enter?

Trying out your hands on real-life problems and having first-hand interaction with regulatory authorities can be very useful in developing your own legal acumen. Such personal experiences and interactions have been key to ours being able to develop pathbreaking courses in business laws, anti-sexual harassment laws, criminal litigation and on a range of other laws, and to follow pursuits around law, which others wouldn’t have developed.  In fact, a lot of the courses I had myself represented my friend’s mother in a consumer forum in Howrah as a law student.
This is a fabulous opportunity for you to try your hands on real-world application of law to issues of public interest.  You can identify important areas where information is needed and bring transparency in administration. If you do this consistently, you can start developing expertise in an area of law and provide future career opportunities and business models around it.
You will be the first-mover with respect to the area you start working on, and you can use the research in your theses or SOPs for higher studies.
Interviewers will love the kind of energy and confidence you demonstrate when you speak on these areas.
You may be able to identify new causes for relevant public interest litigation that leads to smoother functioning of the administration or justice delivery and leave a mark in the country.

List of Important Dates for the Competition

  • Last Date for sending RTI entries: 31st January 2017 (Every participant can send more than one RTI entry)
  • Last Date for sending RTI responses: 15th March 2017
  • Last Date for submitting article: 10th April 2017
  • Result Announcement: 15th April 2017
Contact Person:
Mili Mishra – mili@onlinerti.com
Visit https://onlinerti.com/competition to register for the competition and get more details.
Please note: Anybody can participate in this competition, not just lawyers or law students.

 

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