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Thread: The Costing of information

  1. The Costing of information


    Copied from: RTI hassle: Dept spends Rs 5 to get Rs 2

    A lot has been written about seeking and disseminating information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the problems faced in the process. However, this one problem, though a minor one, must have been overlooked all the while.
    Though Rs 10 is the fixed price for seeking information, Rs 2 is charged per additional page under the Act. And to charge his additional amount, the departments mostly end up spending much more than what is being sought as information fee.
    At the same time, even if the applicant has to send a Rs 4 draft, he/she has to spend Rs 20 as bank fee and another Rs 20-25 as registry or courier expenses.
    Recently, the district treasury had to demand Rs 2 from an applicant who had sought information under the RTI Act. But to demand the amount, the Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) had to spend Rs 5.
    On January 3, Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a resident of Chet Singh Nagar, Gill Road, sought information regarding district level committees formed to check the credibility of several electro homoeopathy colleges being run in the district.
    “I affixed the requisite Rs 10 fee with the application and submitted it with the respective department. But on January 17, I got a communique from the department demanding Rs 2 as additional fee. The communique came in a stamped envelope of Rs 5,” said Kuldeep Singh.
    Similarly, Hitender Jain, an activist with Resurgence India, the NGO, had applied to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, seeking information on the correspondence between Punjab government and the ministry over Indian Police Services (IPS) rules. “I got a letter from the ministry asking me to submit Rs 4, and the direction came in a Rs 30 speed post envelope,” he said.
    Jain pointed out that in 2002, when the Freedom for Information Act 2002 was being drafted — which was never enforced — a Joint Parliamentary Committee was formed at the centre level to look into the proposals of various NGOs. “Many NGOs, including ours, had proposed that upto Rs 50 the expense should be borne by the department from which information is being sought. However, when the RTI Act came into existence, no such clause was there,” he said.
    “The departments don’t have a way out. They are responsible for every penny spent and would be answerable during the audit. This is in fact increasing liability on the state and Centre exchequer,” Jain said.
    He suggested that the rules in the Act need should be amended to save the public money being spent in such a way.




  2. Quote Originally Posted by kushal View Post
    Copied from: RTI hassle: Dept spends Rs 5 to get Rs 2

    “The departments don’t have a way out. They are responsible for every penny spent and would be answerable during the audit. This is in fact increasing liability on the state and Centre exchequer,” Jain said.
    He suggested that the rules in the Act need should be amended to save the public money being spent in such a way.
    This comes as no surprise. Over the past few months I have been receiving letters through speed post from all over the country asking me to deposit some amount like Rs.5, 8 even Rs.2 for information. Not wanting to waste time or haggle over this issue, I use to send IPO for the said amount.

    However, now I find even after filing an appeal with the AA, despite the law saying that info provided after 30 days should be provided free, these PIOs send me a latter by speedpost asking me to deposit Rs.6/- or so. Some even ask me to pay an extra Rs.2/- for the covering letter. If I protest, pointing out they clause, the spend another Rs.30/- for speed post saying that they have to contact higher officers for this.

    I will be raising this issue with the CIC during the next meeting. Maybe forum members can provide with some inputs on this subject.


  3. I believe the cost is provided to ensure that there should not be unnecessary frivolous applications under RTI.
    My suggestion is to do away with the subsequent fee if the demanded subsequent fee amount is less than Rs. 50. The application fee paid at the first instant will suffice.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by kushal View Post
    Copied from: RTI hassle: Dept spends Rs 5 to get Rs 2

    A lot has been written about seeking and disseminating information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the problems faced in the process. However, this one problem, though a minor one, must have been overlooked all the while. Though Rs 10 is the fixed price for seeking information, Rs 2 is charged per additional page under the Act. And to charge his additional amount, the departments mostly end up spending much more than what is being sought as information fee.
    At the same time, even if the applicant has to send a Rs 4 draft, he/she has to spend Rs 20 as bank fee and another Rs 20-25 as registry or courier expenses.
    Recently, the district treasury had to demand Rs 2 from an applicant who had sought information under the RTI Act. But to demand the amount, the Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) had to spend Rs 5.
    On January 3, Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a resident of Chet Singh Nagar, Gill Road, sought information regarding district level committees formed to check the credibility of several electro homoeopathy colleges being run in the district.
    €œI affixed the requisite Rs 10 fee with the application and submitted it with the respective department. But on January 17, I got a communique from the department demanding Rs 2 as additional fee. The communique came in a stamped envelope of Rs 5,€ said Kuldeep Singh.
    Similarly, Hitender Jain, an activist with Resurgence India, the NGO, had applied to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, seeking information on the correspondence between Punjab government and the ministry over Indian Police Services (IPS) rules. €œI got a letter from the ministry asking me to submit Rs 4, and the direction came in a Rs 30 speed post envelope,€ he said.
    Jain pointed out that in 2002, when the Freedom for Information Act 2002 was being drafted €” which was never enforced €” a Joint Parliamentary Committee was formed at the centre level to look into the proposals of various NGOs. €œMany NGOs, including ours, had proposed that upto Rs 50 the expense should be borne by the department from which information is being sought. However, when the RTI Act came into existence, no such clause was there,€ he said.
    €œThe departments don€™t have a way out. They are responsible for every penny spent and would be answerable during the audit. This is in fact increasing liability on the state and Centre exchequer,€ Jain said.
    He suggested that the rules in the Act need should be amended to save the public money being spent in such a way.
    With reference to above, it is to submit that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, vide its letter no.R.14015/25/96-U&H(R) (Pt.) dated 25th November, 2003, has very categorically stated that Electropathy/Electrohomoeopathy and some other alternative medicine therapies are not recognised systems of medicine. The letter further requested the State Governments to ensure that €œ€ institutions under the State/UT do not grant any degree/diploma in the stream of medicine which have not been recommended for recognition and the term `Doctor€™ is used by practitioners of recognised system of medicine.€ .

    Further, in his letter bearing D.O. No.V.25011/199/2005-MR dated 03.01.2006, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has very clearly stated that €œ€ students who have studied the system of electrohomoeopathy are not eligible to practice the system and treat the patients.€ The Minister has reiterated in this letter that €œState/UT Governments have been requested vide Ministry€™s letter dated 25.11.03 to ensure that the institutions under them do not grant any degree/diploma in the stream of medicine which have not been recommended for recognition and the term `Doctor€™ is used only by practitioners of recognised system of medicine.€

    In response to my application under the Right to Information Act, 2005, the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana vide his letter no.Drugs-06/2600 dated 08.09.2006 has also very clearly stated that it practice in the system of Electrohomoeopathy is not allowed since it is not recognised by the Government of India.

    Further, in response to my application under the Right to Information Act to the Chief Minister/Health Secretary, the Registrar of Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, Chandigarh has also stated that it had on 18.11.2004 written to the D.C.s, S.S.P.s etc. of Punjab to take action against these institutes and clinics operating in Punjab.

    Regretfully, it is stated that despite clear instructions of the Central Government, more than 60 institutes in Punjab and their 14 affiliating boards spread throughout India continue to fleece gullible students in Punjab by awarding degree of `Bachelor of Electropathy Medicine & Surgery (B.E.M.S.)€™. It is pertinent to mention that some of these institutes have come up even after the issuance of directions by the Union Government. Majority of these institutes do not have any infrastructure and some are even run from shops and clinics.

    These so-called institutes are spoiling the prime span of life of innocent students who join the course least knowing that they would not be able to practice as Doctors. The award of degrees by these unscrupulous institutes is clearly a fraud with the students as it spoils their career.

    I am one such victim of one of such institutes. I have wasted 7 precious years in pursuing the course and practicing it. I had to quit practice when I learnt that the system is not even recognised and practicing it is illegal. It is pertinent to mention that the certificate issued to me by the N.E.H.M. of India very boldly bears the words €œAuthorised by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India€.

    Despite my request to the health authorities in Punjab, no action has been taken by the State government to stop these self-proclaimed institutes and their affiliating boards for the reasons best known to them.

    After collecting information from various sources about such institutes in Punjab and their affiliating boards across the country, I have prepared a list of 69 such institutes, which is enclosed as Annexure `G€™ for your perusal but there may be many more. Since, I have gathered information about these institutes from various sources, you are requested to get it checked independently.

    in response to my application under the Right to Information Act, 2005, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, vide its letter no.R.25011/176/2006-MR dated 13th September, 2006, has very categorically stated that Electropathy/Electrohomoeopathy is not a recognised systems of medicine and it is not permissible to practice in such a system of medicine. This has also been made clear in notification no. 14015/25/96-U&H(R)(Pt.).The letter further made clear that €œ€ no college can issue degree/diplomas or certificate in Electrohomoeopathy and €.. State Govt. is empowered to take action under Indian law against such colleges€.

    At last on 25-09-06 I have approached to D.G. P. Punjab to register F.I.R's against the guilty. Now I have seek the information From D.G. P. Punjab Under RTI Act about my application. But till date No response has come out from D.G.P. Punjab.

    I request you to Highlight this matter & save the students from the institutes/affiliating Boards awarding degrees in Electropathy/Electrohomoeopathy for committing fraud on students and for violating the directions of the Union Government in order to save the credulous students from being cheated further.
    Thanking you,

    Yours truly,

    Kuldeep Singh Khaira
    0XXXXXXXXX
    Last edited by ambrish.p; 10-10-10 at 12:27 AM.


  5. Is this a mix-up of two different threads?

  6. CIC decision on imputed cost


    While browsing the CIC website, I came across an interesting decision on the subject. I am reproducing the same for the benefit of our members.

    Decision on Appeal No. 23/IC(A)/2006 F.No. 11/85/2006/CIC dt 10.04.2006

    Kishur Aggarwal vs Corporation Bank

    The bank had demanded an additional amount of Rs.22000/- to provide the further information as the desired information would disproportionately divert the resources of the Bank. This appeal is against the exorbitant
    demand.

    CIC's Decision

    In any case, there is no provision in the RTI Act to collect and recover from the information seekers the imputed cost i.e. the average salary and wages of the staff deployed for compiling and providing the information, as they are on the payroll of the public authority which is under obligation to provide information. And, most importantly, there are no norms and guidelines prescribed by the Government for recovery of attributable expenditure on account of salaries and wages of the concerned staff who are put on the job of providing information. The Bank should not have done what it has done in asking for payments towards the costs of compilation of information. This is seemingly done merely to discourage the information seeker, which is not consistent with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. The Bank is directed to make suo moto disclosure of information without unduly burdening the staff and sacrificing its normal activities or disproportionately diverting its resources, to ensure transparency in its functioning. It should not arbitrarily charge for the costs that is not prescribed by the Government.

  7. Re: The Costing of information


    Here is a recent one. And this time, it is Southern Railway.

    Mr Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Cause had sought certain information relating to availability of tickets under Tatkal Scheme and other related information.

    The CPIO has responded and asked for deposit of Rs. 2222/- on account of service charges (Rs. 2,000/- as wages of staff and Rs. 22/- for photo copy charges).

    In the instant case the CIC held that:
    Unfortunately, the CPIO has erred. As per the prescribed Cost and Fee Rules under the RTI Act, a CPIO is expected to collect charges for photo copy of the relevant documents @ Rs. 2/- per page. Collection of service charges in the form of wages of staff, as has been done by the CPIO in the instant case, is not permissible under the provisions of the Act. The CPIO is therefore directed to furnish the documents asked for by the appellant free of cost, as more than 30 days have already lapsed from the date of receipt of RTI application. The documents should be supplied within 15 working days from the date of issue of this decision.

    Decision No. 1255 /IC(A)/2007 dated 21/09/2007 on Appeal from Shri K. Kathirmathiyon Vs Southern Railway
    Last edited by ganpat1956; 28-09-07 at 06:55 PM.

  8. Re: The Costing of information


    I dont agree with this at all. Which department keeps a record of papers consumed for photocopying? Govt departments are known to consume HUGE amounts of papers for silly and trivial reasons. Perhaps it is better to give photocopies free to the applicant if it is just 4-5 sheets. But my experience is that the CPIOs generally *hate* the information seeker because it adds to his/her work. So they insist on asking for ridiculous amounts like Rs 2/- just to delay the reply and also to make the information seeker pay for everything.

    Akanksha Chopra



    [quote=kushal;1171]Copied from: RTI hassle: Dept spends Rs 5 to get Rs 2

    >>>
    “The departments don’t have a way out. They are responsible for every penny spent and would be answerable during the audit. This is in fact increasing liability on the state and Centre exchequer,” Jain said.

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