NEW DELHI, MAY 5: Observing that high courts are "empowered and well within their jurisdiction" to frame rules with regard to the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the Allahabad High Court's decision of levying Rs 500 as fees for seeking any information under the Act.
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justice M K Sharma hearing a petition filed by an NGO, Lok Prehri, refused to issue any direction for setting aside or quashing the HC order.
Contending that such an "hefty amount" charged as fees under the RTI Act was illegal, perverse and bad in law, S N Shukla who appeared for the petitioner said, "It virtually amounts to negating the Right to Information Act."
The NGO in its application filed before the high court in July 2006 had sought two details from the court -- number of cases disposed of and information on administration of cases.
The Supreme Court was told that the high court had declined to part with the information and an appeal was subsequently filed with the State Information Commission in September 2006.
Meanwhile, the full bench of the high court came out with the rule specifying that for every information, a separate application has to be filed with the fee of Rs 500, the NGO claimed.
Finding no infirmity with the high court decision, the CJI, speaking for the bench, observed, "We cannot interfere in the rules framed by the High Court. They are empowered to do so."