The appellate authority is the body or organisation that deals with addressing appeals against the orders or actions of the subordinate administrative body.
An appellate authority checks the decisions by the subordinate authorities to protect the interest of the parties to a dispute. The appellate authority acts as a guardian with supreme decision-making capabilities, thus preventing the parties from being exploited or getting one party unjust benefits.
Table of Contents
Appeals to Appellate Authority
A Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) is appointed as a public authority responsible for supplying required and adequate information within a particular time to the person seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005.
This process of providing information cause situations where the applicant may be dissatisfied with the decisions of the public information commissioner, or the public information commissioner may not have acted as per provisions of the act. In such cases, the act consists of the provision for filing an appeal to the higher authorities for effective implementation of the act.
The first appeal is to the public authority itself to an officer designated as the First Appellate Authority by the concerned authority. The First Appellate Authority is generally an officer senior to the CPIO.
The second appeal is to the Central Information Commission. The procedure of the appeals by the Commission is governed under the Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005.
Guidelines of the first appellate authority under the RTI Act.
Information requested by an applicant shall be provided or rejected within the time limit set by the Act. Applicants must pay an additional fee for such a purpose. The required information is provided to the applicant within 30 days.
The applicant has the right to appeal to the first appellate authority if they do not get information for a decision regarding the rejection of the application and request for an additional fee within the stated period of the act, which is also possible through appeal.
The first appeal must be filed within 30 days by the provided period’s expiry date or receipt of communication from the CPIO. When the first appellate authority is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal, an appeal may be admitted after 30 days.
Guidelines of the second appellate authority under the RTI act
- The second appeal should be signed and addressed to commission
- A copy of the RTI request shall be sent to the CPIO
- A copy of the first appeal filed by the First Appellate Authority.
- RTI, first appeal, and second appeal are all interconnected
- The first three documents must be readable.
- The above three documents must be in Hindi or English or should have a Hindi/English translation.
The second appeal can be lodged after 45 days after the first appeal was filed or immediately following the decision of the First Appellate Authority,
The second appeal must be submitted within 90 days after the date on which the appellate received the First Appellate Authority decision or within 90 days after the expiry period of the first appeal in case there is no response.
There is a limitation period of a maximum of 90 days for filing an appeal before an appellate authority; beyond that period, the debt becomes time-barred.
A delay in filing a second appeal is condoned when filed within 90 days of receipt of the order of the first appeal. The commission may accept the second appeal if it is convinced that the appellant was prevented from filing it on time for some relevant reason.
Appellate Court vs. Appellate Authority
Appellate Courts have appellate jurisdiction, which defines the court’s capacity to hear or review a case that a subordinate court has already determined. If the parties are dissatisfied with the subordinate court’s decision, they can appeal to higher courts in the form of an appeal.
The subordinate court’s ruling can be overruled or upheld by appellate courts. Their goal is to ensure justice, considering the facts of the case and relevant laws. These higher courts will be the High Courts of the state or the Supreme Court of India.
The appellate authority is concerned with addressing the appeals at the authoritative level. The appellate authority is the power designated to a public authority to address the appeals and resolve them at the earliest for implementation of the act.
There’s always a senior authority designated with the powers to resolve the disputes arising in the appeals at the administrative level. This authority is any senior officer or any commission established for this purpose.
Powers of the Appellate Authority
The powers of the appellate authority are as follows:
- To make a final decision on a dispute at the administrative level
- To send a dispute back to the subordinate appellate authorities
- To call witnesses for examination to resolve a dispute
- To gather additional evidence or to command the collection of such evidence
- To investigate in a particular matter
- To overrule the subordinate authority’s decision if found arbitrary
Provision further states that appellate courts have the same powers and conduct their tasks in a manner that is identical to that prescribed by this law for courts of original jurisdiction.
Duties and Functions of the Appellate Authority
The responsibilities and functions of an appellate authority are as follows:
- The authority is responsible for analysing the facts in light of the applicable laws and rules governing the administration of such authority and making a decision in the dispute. It is the court’s responsibility to generate a decision based on appeal.
- It is responsible for providing relevant reasons to reverse the subordinate authority’s decision.
- It has a responsibility to reconsider the evidence. The appellate authority should review the evidence submitted before the subordinate authority after exercising due care and caution to ensure that the subordinate authority’s approach to documenting and assessing the evidence was not erroneous or contradictory to recognised regulations.
- It has a responsibility not to reverse or interfere with the subordinate authority’s decision solely on technical grounds if the decision is correct.
If a person is dissatisfied with a decision or order made against him/her, the person may appeal to the Appellate Authority (AA). It is important to note that only the aggrieved person can submit the appeal. Additionally, the appeal must be against a decision or order that has been made by a consumer protection authority established under the RTI Act 2005.
An applicant may register a complaint if he does not get information within 30 or 48 hours, as the case may be, or if he is unhappy with the information provided. As an initial appellate authority, he may appeal to a higher-ranking official.
Who can appeal for Appellate Authority?
Only the applicant can appeal to the Appellate Authority.
Who heads the Appellate Authority?
Officers of higher rank head the Appellate Authority.
How many appeals can be filed by the applicant?
An applicant can file two appeals:
- First Appeal
- Second Appeal
Which courts are appellate courts?
High Courts and Supreme Court.
Which section of RTI deals with First Appeal?
Section 19(1) of Right to Information Act, 2005.