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Thread: RTI fee may be scrapped

  1. #1

    RTI fee may be scrapped


    RTI fee may be scrapped
    By Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 26.01.08

    A PARLIAMENTARY committee has decided to recommend scrapping of fees at the time of filing applications seeking information from government departments under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    The decision of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Grievances And Personnel has been welcomed by the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah, and by RTI activists. The parliamentary committee headed by Dr E.M. Sudarasna Natchiappan, has said scrapping of fees at the initial stage would help in effective implementation of the two-year old law.

    "The technicality of admitting an application only on receiving a fee of Rs 10 is undermining such a revolutionary law. We feel that there was an urgent need to do away with this step which reflected a bureaucratic mindset," Natchiappan told HT.

    He said the committee had studied the RTI Act's successful implementation at the Chennai Petroleum Corporation, which was not charging fees at the time of filing applications. The applicants were asked to deposit the fees and other costs only if they were furnished the desired information, Natchiappan added.

    The standing committee felt there was a need to introduce greater transparency in dealing with RTI applications, as the majority of concerned officials were hesitant to part with information.

    The panel also favoured a more practical implementation of the RTI Act in armed forces. It has said they should provide more information to the applicants, majority of whom were employees, seeking details of their service matters.

    Habibullah has welcomed the parliamentary committee's decision seeking scrapping of the fees at the initial stage. "This is a welcome recommendation, which would encourage more people to make use of the RTI. Though costs are involved in providing information, the applicants should be asked to deposit money when they get their replies," he said.

    The CIC said it was important for government departments to make it easy for applicants seeking information, rather than making it difficult through tough procedures.

    Noted RTI activist Nikhil De, while welcoming the recommendation, cautioned that there was a need for having some sort of a record with the applicant to keep his process alive.

    nagendar.sharma [@] hindustantimes.com
    Hindustantimes 26.01.08
    New Delhi


    Last edited by sidmis; 27-01-08 at 06:44 AM.

  2. Re: RTI fee may be scrapped


    It is really a very good and helpful decision for the RTI activists. It will be possible for us to submit RTI application through e-mail, in that case, where that facility is available. In some Govt. Department in West Bengal we don't have that facility. In SIC it is not possible to knowthe status of second appeal/complaint from their website.

  3. #3

    Re: RTI fee may be scrapped


    Hello Abhijit,
    A lot more suggestions were submitted to the Natchiappan committee regarding RTI Act. We don't have any idea about the fate of those proposals.
    It seems that they have not considered others.

    Actually It does not make much of a difference whether you pay the fees before or after. In fact pre payment is a better option than post payment of fees in many cases.

    It's the quality of information that's important.

    When the full recommendations of the PARLIAMENTARY committee comes out we can have a full discussion on it.

    Sidmis

  4. #4
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    Re: RTI fee may be scrapped



    Though this recommendation, if it is accepted can solve the problem of initial request to a large extend facilitating an application by E-mail, I was expecting only such type of decision ("throwing a bone to a barking dog to keep it mum") from a Parliamentary Committee. They are normally bound to follow a path of least resistance. No one other than the Finance Ministry can have any objection. But this is not what we were wanting from the Parliamentary Committe. If the Committee has shelved other vital aspects of fixing accountability like time-frame to the Commission the same way the PIO is made accountable, interpretation of the term "shall impose" in Section 20(2), cutting down more Departments from Second schedule, making the State Government more accountable in facilitating the functioning of the State Information Commissions,etc., etc., it will be another catastrophe. Let us wait for the final recommendation.
    Last edited by colnrkurup; 27-01-08 at 03:58 PM.

  5. Re: RTI fee may be scrapped


    When the final recommendation is expected ? Is it obligatory to accept all recommendations by the CIC ? How long it will be taken to accept those recommendations ? These are not known to us .

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