How to Submit a RTI Request

In order of most to least convenient, the main methods to submit a formal Right to Information Request are:


The MaHoaLi* portal created by the Information Commissioner's Office allows us to submit and handle all our RTI requests from one place. It shows us how many days are left until the deadline in each stage of the RTI process, and we can submit requests to the Review Committees at institutes, as well as submit appeals and complaints to ICOM if needed – all through the portal itself.

Users are required to register before making use of the portal but that has an advantage as well: The information required to submit a request (name, address, phone number) are saved and will not have to be manually filled every time. Additionally, there is no need to find the contact details of Information Officers, and it is as easy as selecting the name of the institute we want to request the information from.

*MaHoaLi – stands for MAuloomaathu HOAdhaa LIbigathun


Even though several institutes have made their own 'version' of the form under their own letterhead, ICOM's form will do just fine and they CANNOT refuse your form for having a different letterhead.

The easiest way to submit a RTI form would be to fill and email to the Information Officer at the institute (cc to one or more emails to ensure they receive it). Submitting a physical form is also an option and a great way to ensure that they receive your form without a shadow of a doubt.

If the contact details of the Information Officer at the state institute is not available from their website, ICOM has a list with the contact details of ALL of the Information Officers at every state institute available on the ICOM website!

What happens when a RTI request is submitted

The RTI Act outlines several stages in the RTI process. Progressing to a subsequent stage is voluntary and only applicable if the requested information was NOT received in the previous stage.


Each State Institute under the RTI Act must assign at least one Information Officer (IO) who is the first point of contact for RTI requests. The IO is responsible for:

  • Acknowledging that a RTI request has been received by providing a written receipt to the information seeker
  • Deciding whether the information requested for can be provided by the state institute within the duration specified in the Act and informing the information seeker
  • Transferring the request to another institute if the requested information is more applicable to them
  • Communicating whether any fee is applicable to provide the requested information (such as for printing costs)
  • Ensuring that action on all RTI requests are made before the deadline (whether it be to provide the requested information or informing that the requested information cannot be provided, and why)

Deadline: 21 days, which can be extended up to 14 additional days if the requested information is extensive and requires a lot of work


*if a request for information is made to save the life and liberty of a person, such information must be provided within 48 (forty eight) hours


Each institute under the RTI Act must set up a Review Committee (RC) consisting of at least 3 members of a higher rank than the IO. The RC is responsible for:

  • Examining and reviewing complaints lodged by those unsatisfied by the decisions of the Information Officers
  • Notifying its decision (to disclose the requested information or not, and why) to all concerned parties in writing before the deadline

Deadline: 30 days, which can be extended up to 15 additional days if the requested information is extensive and requires a lot of work


*unlike the IO stage, there is no form to submit a complaint to the RC. Instead, a letter or email addressed to the RC can be submitted, with details of why the submission is being made, ideally with reference to the provisions of the Act which prescribe the disclosure of the requested information


Appointed by the President and approved by the Parliament, the Information Commissioner (ICOM) is the authority responsible for guaranteeing our constitutional Right to Information. An appeal can be made to ICOM if:

  • The requested information has not been received even after the previous two stages have been completed
  • A state institute has not appointed an Information Officer
  • The Information Officer refuses or neglects to provide a receipt notifying that a RTI request has been received
  • The Information Officer fails to comply to a request for access to information within the time limits required under the Act
  • The State Institute or the Information Officer at the institute refuses to comply with a directive issued by the ICOM
  • The State Institute or the Information Officer at the institute breach the procedure in the RTI Act regarding access to information

After an appeal or complaint has been lodged with ICOM, the case will be investigated and open hearings conducted to determine whether the decisions by the IO and RC of the State Institute were justified. If the requested information was withheld without a legitimate exempt clause specified in the Act, the ICOM will decide by which date the state authority must provide the requested information. Decisions of the ICOM are legally binding and failure to comply with the decision of the ICOM can result in legal action.

Deadline: 30 days, which can be extended up to 15 additional days if a decision regarding the case is unfinished for any reason



Where there is a party (either the information seeker or the state institute that received the RTI request) that is unsatisfied with the decision reached by the Information Commissioner, the party may appeal the matter to the High Court,

Deadline: 10 days from the date the decision was made or should have been made by the ICOM