Petition for 


Please note that this is a developing story. Last updated on 12:00 hrs / 05.03.2023


What does it mean?

Rights are simply the claims of the individual against the state/society. Rights create entitlements which are not conditional for a free citizen. The Right to Information in India sources itself from Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. In the year 1976, the Supreme Court of India had declared the Right to Information a Fundamental Right under the said Article in Raj Narain vs State of U.P. The right provides for an informed citizenry by empowering them to seek accountability from the Government. 

How is information sought from the Government?

Presently, any citizen seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005 from any Department of the Government of J&K has to either make a physical application to the concerned Department/ Office or send the application via registered post to the concerned Department. Also, in order to submit the request for information under the Act, the applicant needs to either obtain a postal order by visiting the post office or a payment receipt from the Government treasury or pay cash against receipt to pay the requisite fee for the application.

What is the problem?

That the RTI Act is a time-bound legislation and prescribes statutory timelines for providing the information for effectively exercising the Fundamental Right to Information guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. However, the process of seeking information from the Government / Public Offices of the Union Territory is hectic and tiresome, not only for the residents but also for the non-residents of J&K. Further, it is almost impossible, if not extremely difficult, for Non-Resident Indians (NRI’s) who are desirous of obtaining information from any Department of the UT Government to make such requests, owing to the tedious physical application process.

The Right to Information Act is a powerful tool in the hands of citizens and the true objective of the legislation can be achieved only by timely response to citizens' requests for Government information. But postal and transit delays and complications work as a hindrance in the smooth functioning of the system. The postal and transit delays are not only limited to the submission of request for information and the furnishing of responses thereof, but it extends to all the other intermediate communications made between the applicant and the Government Department. These communications may include requisitioning of additional fee/costs, additional document/information from the applicant, appointment details for inspection of documents, notice to a third party, transfer of application to another PIO and intimation to the applicant thereof etc.

Apart from the regular monetary and time constraints faced by the applicants, it becomes imperative to mention the difficulties faced by a huge population residing in physically inaccessible and far-flung areas in seeking information under the Act. The non-availability of post offices in nearby areas and other challenges faced by the people residing in such areas often makes it practically impossible for them to seek information under the Act. Often, Indian Postal Orders (IPOs) which is the most commonly used method of payment of application fees for RTI application, are not readily available at post offices except the General Post Office. It would be unreasonable to expect people from far-flung areas to obtain IPOs from Srinagar/towns.

On the other hand, the Public Information Officers/ Assistant Public Information Officers appointed under the Act also have to face various challenges. The time-consuming processes for the Government Departments include Inter-organizational transfers of requests as per provision of the Act, collating information from various sections and departments, File movements, Encashment of RTI Fee received by public authority in the form of DD and IPO etc. The said issues faced by the officers eventually lead to wastage of their time and delay in furnishing responses to the applicants.

What is our Campaign About?

The Government of India has established an online RTI portal whereby any Indian Citizen including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can apply for information under the Act with any Ministry or Department under the Central Government. The applicant can also pay the requisite application fee through this portal. After establishing the said portal, the Central Government requested the State Governments vide a letter dated 03.12.2013 to implement online RTI in the respective States. The Central Government also asked the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to provide all the possible technical support, software, and source codes to the State Governments who desire to replicate the web portal for online filing of RTI for their respective States. However, the Government of J&K has failed to implement the same making it extremely tedious and sometimes practically impossible for the citizens to seek information from the public authorities. Aggrieved by the state of affairs, members of YLF filed representations with the Government in the matter, followed by a public interest litigation and a contempt petition in the J&K High Court.

The Timeline of our Campaign can be found below:

Contempt Petition in J&K High Court 

( Next Hearing Date: 09th May 2023)

After the court ordered the Chief Secretary, Govt. of J&K to take call regarding the establishment of the portal. The Govt. of J&K, in the sub-matter (Contempt Petition) of the Online RTI portal PIL, submitted before the court that it has decided to register with the Online RTI portal of the Central Govt. and is taking appropriate action in furtherance of the same so as to facilitate the general public to file online RTI Applications and First Appeals.

The govt. in detail stated that it is in the middle of ascertaining the information with regard to Public Offices (for ascertaining the quantum of CPIOs and FAAs), and it has ordered all Administrative Secretaries to furnish the requisite information from their end and the same shall be shared with the Government of India, for registration of the UT of J&K with the Online RTI Portal.

High Court Order ( March 17, 2022)

The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh directed the Chief Secretary to take a call upon the representation of the petitioners and to pass a speaking order on it, most expeditiously, preferably, within a period of three months from the date of the Court Order.

Click here to access the copy of Order:


Petition Before the Hon'ble Court ( February 09, 2022)

Aggrieved by the state of affairs, members of Young Lawyers Forum filed a Public Interest Litigation Before the Hon'ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh seeking directions to establish an Online RTI request & appeal management system (RTI-MIS) portal in J&K.

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