Friday, May 28, 2010

Re: [rti_india] DoPT OM on the kinds of fee chargeable under Section 7(3) of the RTI Act in India


There is little to cheer about in this order. I know that our learned activists would counter my post with their intelligent and well worded replies, let me informat, that this would not server any larger public interest. Majority of the laypersons - or aam adami, for whose benefit this RTI Act has been promulgated by the parliament, just cannot interpret or argue their cases on simple issues. Further a small fraction of these actually approach the commission.
Very few CPIOs have actually charged the applicants an additional fee for postage etc. If read between the lines in para 4 & 5 of the order, you will note, that the DoP&T have squeezed in their own version of interpretation of Section 7(9) of the RTI Act.
Ever since this order was uploaded on the DoP&T website, there was a flurry of action in various offices of the CPIOs, who circulated this order to each other with the clearly underling the last sentence of para 5, which reads as "wherever supply of information is a particular form would disproportionately divert theresources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the records, the PIO may refuse to supply the information in that form".
CPIOs do not need to quote Section 8 to deny information. Every now and then the DoP&T comes out with various orders, which gives them more reasons to deny information.
The first such order was the one where DoP&T said "Why, where, when etc" are questions and not information. A widow could not find out the status of her husbands pension and other benefits; a son could not ask the reason for change in the house ownership after the death of his father over twenty years ago, a father could not asked the why the college did not admit his son who had scored more then 80% in his examinations and so on.
The second was the interpretation of Section 6(3), allowing the CPIO to not transfer application, but return the application to the applicant instead. A house wife approaches the SPIO of the municipality seeking information on the drainage problem.  This application is returned on the 29th day, with instructions to approach the PWD. When she files the application with the PWD, her application is again returned with instructions to approach the water board, who in turn ask her to file the application with irrigation department, this dept asks her to approach the forest deptt and so on. Six months pass, money wasted on postage and application fee but no information received.
I could go on and like Nayak says, could bore you with more such incidents. However, the point is that all the above applicants would be willing to pay any additional fees, as the information is more important than the postage fee.
So instead of thumping  backs and sending mails to DoP&T, why dont you carry out an exercise by filing the same simple RTI Application you had filed in 2006 and see if you can get the same detailed information like you had got earlier? Before some experts asks his next question, let me inform, that I have done it. I made several simple aam aadmi do it here in Ahmedabad repeat their exercise in getting information they had asked in 2006-07. Only 15% of them got the information.
Lage raho

--- On Fri, 5/28/10, KRISHNA MOORTHI <> wrote:

Subject: Re: [rti_india] DoPT OM on the kinds of fee chargeable under Section 7(3) of the RTI Act in India
Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 10:21 PM

Dear Mr Nayak,
Thanks for attaching the OM of DoPT on addional fee.
I was unable to down load the same circular from DoPT web site.
Thanks again Mr Mayak

T N Krishnamoorthi

--- On Fri, 28/5/10, Venkatesh Nayak <venkatesh@humanrigh tsinitiative. org> wrote:

From: Venkatesh Nayak <venkatesh
After a longish pause I am slipping back into my old habit of boring you all with longish comments on matters and developments related to RTI in India and other countries. Some of you have inquired about the long pause. I thank you all for your continued interest in our despatches. After recovering from a bout of illness and catching up on pending work, I am back at my keyboard with some good news.


Venkatesh Nayak


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