In a recent case before the Goa State Information Commission, which found the Mapusa deputy collector and North Goa additional collector (first appellate authority) denying information to a Moira resident Donato Armando Lobo on flimsy grounds.

On October 10, 2006, Lobo sought to present an application to Mapusa deputy collector seeking certain information relating to his village. However, he was not allowed to submit it unless he affixed a Rs 2 court stamp on the same. However, under the RTI Act no court stamp needs to be affixed on an application. When Lobo tried to explain this, it was not heeded to. Eventually, a court stamp was affixed.

Moreover, an application fee of Rs 10 was also not accepted from Lobo, instead he was asked to pay processing fee – but RTI Act does not prescribe processing fee. Lobo refused to pay processing fee, instead he preferred an appeal before the additional collector who is the first appellate authority.

Later, Lobo was served notice (by first appellate authority) asking him to show cause as to why a fine of Rs 250 should not be imposed on him till the disposal of his appeal.

Following this, Lobo lodged a complaint with the Goa State Information Commission.

The Commission, after hearing the arguments of both the parties and verifying the evidences presented before it, ruled the action of the Mapusa deputy collector as “illegal and not justified.”

As for the show cause notice of the first appellate authority, the Commission said: the first appellate authority “erred in directing Lobo to justify as to why a fine of Rs 250 per day should not be imposed on.” The Commission also pointed out that, “the Act does not provide for payment of fine by the applicant.”

Lobo’s case was argued by members of Moira legal aid cell before the Commission.

(Source: India RTi blogspot 22.01.2007)