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Whether First Appeal is must?
I have not been given the name and designation of first appellate authority by the CPIO despite specifically asked for it, in my RTI apllication. I have subsequently submitted a rejoinder to the CPIO stating that, since no first appellate authority has been mentioned in his reply I have no option but to appeal directly to the CIC and again requested to provide the information asked, which was not provided properly earlier, within stipulated time as per the Act. But no reply is received till date.
My question is: under this circumstance, can I make direct appeal to CIC or first appeal is mandatory?
In a recent order, CIC has clarified that the appellant is allowed to have assistance or representation at the stage of First Appeal as well as Second Appeal:
From the above, it is clear that at the level of the Commission an appellant/complainant may authorize any person to be his/her representative in the hearing or similarly seek assistance of any person, who may or may not be a legal practitioner. The procedure laid down for the Commission must broadly be available to an applicant at any stage of the processing of his application, including in the first appeal.
CIC has also clarified in the same order that Associations, Partnership Firms, HUF and Groups of individuals can apply for information under the RTI Act.
The full order is attached to this post.