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Government fails to answer RTI seeking to know who an NRI is!
Commodore Lokesh Batra filed an RTI seeking information on who an NRI is. Only Indian citizens have the right to seek information under the RTI Act, 2005.

The 'Rights of NRIs', circulated in 2013, explicitly included the right to file an RTI. Batra challenged it and protested against the non-reply from the MEA and MHA.

The Right to Information (RTI) surfaced in the headlines. Commodore Batra filed an RTI, as being a citizen of India. He wanted to know the definition through any authoritative person in the department of personnel and training (DoPT).

Jitender Singh, a competent authority in the PMO (Prime Minister Office), rejected to answer stating that "non-resident Indians (NRIs) can't file RTI".

His reply sparked a flame of arguments.  

Commodore Lokesh Batra filed an RTI:

The reply turned the discussion ugly. Commodore Lokesh Batra, ironically, advised that the government of India should sharpen their knowledge over who non-residents are and what rights they possess.

Indeed, the commodore intended to know the definition of an NRI. Also, he wanted to catch a glimpse of the scanned copies of the documents and notings pertaining to the Lok Sabha's oral discussion over a question number 3535. He would like to listen to that discussion from the beginning (in the DoPT) to its end (in the Parliament).

Now, Batra is all set to seek clarification subsequent to facing rejection from the PMO. According to him, NRIs are Indian citizens because they have an Indian passport. The NRIs, as per his knowledge, are the ones who have stayed for more than 182 days in a foreign country during a financial year. Thereby, they come under the list of persons who have the right to seek information under the RTI Act, 2005.

Further, he threw light on the circular disseminated in 2013. It declared the current provisions of the RTI Act under the Rights of NRIs. This is how the non-resident Diaspora with Indian passports can file the RTI in order to seek information from a particular Mission, Post abroad or the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs). Any non-resident can apply for withdrawing information at the cost of INR 10.

If Batra's statement is absolutely correct, the received reply would be contradictory. This is why he filed a petition to throw a light on its appropriate definition.

Batra's next move:

The department of personnel and training failed to provide with the satisfactory reply to his question. So, he had no way left but to lodge a complaint to the chief information commissioner (CIC). The Section 7(2) of the RTI Act assigns a right to complain against the department that refuses to supply the answer. Besides, he pleaded the CIC to cross examine the matter. His request would lead to an action that can impose a penalty under the Section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI Act, if proven his statement correct.

Apart from that, he along with Deepa Jain protested with the MEA against the inappropriate reply from the DoPT. However, the competent authority, Jain, had pushed his complaint into the next step. He also informed Batra that his RTI is sent to the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer), Lakshmikant Kumbhar.

Kumbhar, acting upon his request, has straightly led down his request saying that it's not the matter of a concern for his department as his department doesn't deal with the welfare of NRIs in particular.

Now, the same RTI is sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since the citizenship issues are its concerned areas.

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