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Thread: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-

  1. Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    as a part of my job i keep records of land.
    a person asks me under rti to provide information on a particular piece of land. teh information asked includes 'ownership details of the land' and property extract of the land'. on this very same piece of land there is a title suit pending in high court questioning the right of the government on the land.

    do i need to provide the information? iam worried that the information could be used against the interests of the govt.

    further iam asked to provide extract of the land record which otherwise would cost rs. 100 to provide. that is the charge the office collects from anybody who asks for extract of a property. now, in case i have to provide the information, can i ask the person to deposit the amount of rs 100 to provide the info?




  2. It is a very interesting aspect that if an information can otherwise be provided on payment of some charge, then how can that information be denied under the RTI Act? At the same time, it gives rise to an altogether different issue that, whether such information should come under the ambit of RTI Act at all. If yes, then what would happen to "information" available on payment basis (as in the case of ROC also)?

    The only difference that i could think of is the element of privacy built in the RTI Act as envisaged by article 21 of the Constitution. From the facts given by you, it is not clear whether the person is a "third Party" and provisions of s8(1)(j) of the Act can be applied. Furthermore, if there is a suit pending, then, as per one of the decisions of the CIC, the RTI Act cannot be used as a tool to settle disputes (of course, if the Court does not intervene and requiring the authority to provide such information).

    As regards the use of information against the Government, I feel the Govt exists for justice for its citizens, and if any case lawfully favours the person, and not the govt., it may be gracefully accepted ( subject to s.8(1) of the RTI Act).
    Please also let us know the decision taken by you in this case for our benefit.

  3. #3
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    C J Karira
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    Mr Chanda,

    Welcome to the board and hope you find it useful !

    Nowhere in the RTIA2005 has it been stated that a applicant cannot ask for information under the act, that is easily available to the applicant by other means. Therefore information has to be provided unless it has to be denied un der any other section of the act.
    The duties of the PIO do not state anywhere that he cannot provide information if the interests of the Govt. will be harmed. Nowhere in section 8 or 9 has it been stated that informatioin that will hurt the interest of the government will not be provided by the PIO. The reasons for denial of information have to be as per Section 8 and 9 of the act. The only section that can be used (in a obscure way !) is Section 8, 1 a) because it speaks about the "economic interest of the state".
    Regarding the last point raised by you for charges, each state has passed rules for the charges part (pls refer Section 27 , 2 , a, b , c). Please refer to the rules of your state (since you have not mentioned which state you are from) and applicant has to be charged as per these rules. Moreover, as per Section 7, 3, a) and b) PIO has to write to the applicant first informing him/her of the charges.
    Hope I have been of help.



    1. As the matter is pending before the Court for adjudication, there is every possibility that the applicant would get opportunity for his effective defense or offense. The information sought is in the interest of the seeker. And, as such, there is no overriding public interest, u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act, for disclosure of the information. Kindly refer to the decision not fully related but can throw some light:
    2. As there is a prescribed fee for getting the information in your case, and RTI Act does not override the fees prescribed, even through you should provide the information, you must ask the information seeker for the cost of such information prescribed, in your case Rs.100/-. However, this matter is not yet clearly prescribed and is left of the decision further as has been rightly pointed out by Aashna and Karira.
    On a side note, if I would have been at your place, I would find a 3rd path of asking the information seeker for 'Inspection of Documents'; this way would not contradict my official standing of charging Rs.100/- on providing information, and on other end would give the information so asked under RTI Act.


  4. There is lot of action in this thread I will go through the details later.

    As for providing information which is other wise available for cost. PIO can ask applicant to submit the required fee say Rs. 100 for the information.


  5. Quote Originally Posted by chanda_s View Post
    as a part of my job i keep records of land.
    a person asks me under rti to provide information on a particular piece of land. teh information asked includes 'ownership details of the land' and property extract of the land'. on this very same piece of land there is a title suit pending in high court questioning the right of the government on the land.

    do i need to provide the information? iam worried that the information could be used against the interests of the govt.
    Quote Originally Posted by chanda_s View Post
    further iam asked to provide extract of the land record which otherwise would cost rs. 100 to provide. that is the charge the office collects from anybody who asks for extract of a property. now, in case i have to provide the information, can i ask the person to deposit the amount of rs 100 to provide the info?
    Quote Originally Posted by apaul View Post
    It is a very interesting aspect that if an information can otherwise be provided on payment of some charge, then how can that information be denied under the RTI Act? At the same time, it gives rise to an altogether different issue that, whether such information should come under the ambit of RTI Act at all. If yes, then what would happen to "information" available on payment basis (as in the case of ROC also)?

    RTI information provides for collection of additional charges.

    The decision of an RTI reply is in two parts:
    a) Whether information is to be provided or not?
    b) Is there additional Cost? Whether cost to be collected?


    chanda_s case also forms in the two categories:

    Let me take the easy one first i.e. b)Is there additional Cost? Whether cost to be collected?


    RTI Section 7 (3) provides for collection of additional fee:
    Where a decision is taken to provide the information on payment of any further fee representing the cost of providing the information, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall send an intimation to the person making the request, giving—

    (a) the details of further fees representing the cost of providing the information as determined by him, together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section (1), requesting him to deposit that fees, and the period intervening between the despatch of the said intimation and payment of fees shall be excluded for the purpose of calculating the period of thirty days referred to in that sub-section;


    In the instant case you can forward the public notice / announcement of cost for collection of information under Section 7(3) of the RTI.

    a) Whether information is to be provided or not?
    In the instant case third party proceeding to be initiated as the Govt department can also be third party. After recording objection from third party if any the decision regarding whether information is to be provided or not to be taken.

    If there is no third party then in the instant case the information is to be provided as there is no explicitly prohibition by any court of law.

    I hold the same view as apaul that Govt is for Justice.


  6. I fully agree to the remarks of KAIRA and to para @ of the remarks made by kushal.
    I fwe go by the spirit of the act there is no denying the fact information has to be provided.If the information is challenged in a court the fact can also be mentioned along with the information.
    The amount prescribed can be charged for the information if the same is priced.

  7. #8
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    C J Karira
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    Chanda,

    The following decision of the KIC will help you decide. Looks like a good solution:

    Sri Basavaraj Itnal , One of our RTI Crusaders and Indian Express Corresepondent, has won an almost eight month long Battle in the Karnataka information Commission.

    His application was made to the BBMP town planning Dept for all building plans sanctioned by the Joint Director of Town Planning between Jan 05 to sept 06, accompained with Commencement certificate and occupancy certificate. A demand of Rs 3.2 lakh was made from him to supply the Documents, plans/Blueprints).

    A complaint was lodged with Karnataka Info Comm , and we all argued that the charges are Exorbitant, prohibitive and unreasonable , further we pointed out that the BBMP does not have an suitable Xerox Machine with them and the Blue Printer is out of order, we also pointed that the cost would however around Rs 75 to 90/- .

    The BBMP however defended quoteing its Building bye law according to which the copying fee is Rs 300/- per page of Building plan. Sri KK Mishra ordered Palike to make the copying fees reasonable under RTI. He ordered that though the Building Bye law stipulates Rs 300/- any Information sought under RTI Act should be provided to People at affordable cost.

    The SCIC ordered BBMP to come out with a revised and realistic fee structure, on tuesday last the BBMP joint director of Town Planning has informed that BBMP will hence forth charge copying fee of Rs 100/- only.

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