CHANDIGARH: Right To Information (RTI) Act activists in the city are ready to take on the UT Administration head on over Estate Office’s plan to charge Rs 10 per query instead of the prescribed Rs 10 per application.

According to RTI activists, instructions in this respect from the Estate Office are against the spirit of Right to Information Act, 2005. As per the cost and fee rules, sub-section (2) (i), (ii) and (iii) of Section 28 of the Right to Information Act, there is no provision of additional charges in this clause, and could be challenged under Section 18 of the Act.

Section 28, which states procedures for costing and fee procedures, clearly mentions that Rs 10 per application could be charged and Rs 2 could be charged for the print paper on A-4 and A-3 sheets. For information on floppy or CD, Rs 50 per piece could be levied, as per the Act.

‘‘We will challenge this aberration at legal forums and CIC too. If needed, we would not resist moving the high court even,’’ said Hemant Goswami, a RTI activist. Surprisingly, officers in the Estate Office are tightlipped about the issue, and when contacted DC-cum-estate-officer RK Rao refused to comment.

‘‘It is the right of every citizen to be informed about whatever he or she wants to know. They cannot be discouraged just because officials believe they are being asked too many general queries,’’ said Hitender Jain from Resurgence India, ‘‘Moreover, Estate Office cannot issue instructions of ‘amendments’, which have to come through Parliament,’’ he added.
RTI activists threaten action-Chandigarh-Cities-The Times of India