I am an Internet Marketing professional as well as an RTI activist. I run an NGO, Association for Right to Information (ARTI) to create awareness about this simple yet powerful tool.
Listing Title: Shailendra Sial
I have filed an RTI query dated 28/8/2017 to ICAR-NIANP, an organisation under Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India.
I have asked four queries in the application, all pertaining to purchase, works and expenditure of public funds (Civil/ Maintenance/printing/ purchase of equipments.
A reply to the original application under RTI was received dated 11/09/2017, citing the volume of information sought for and asking for a date to be fixed for visiting the institute for collecting the information sought for. I have replied ( on 13/9/2017) to the same giving two of my convenient dates for the visit, for which a reply was received from NIANP dated 23/9/2017, that the sought information is not available in the format requested for and the dates as intimated by me were not convenient to them due to some of the pre engagements at the office. Again another request letter was sent by me (dated 28/9/2017) for fixing a convenient date from the side of NIANP, so that I can visit and collect the information sought for. Thereafter, I have received a communication from NIANP dated 7/11/2017, for fixing a date for visit by second week of December 2017, for collecting information pertaining to only one query.
The letter dated 7/11/2017 from NIANP tells a few points in which I seek your kind help for some clarification from you.
1. I am told that I can ask only one query in one RTI application. Hence I am asked to send separate RTI queries.
2. I am told that I should mention the purpose of seeking information for each query and that purpose will be verified by their higher authority.
3. I am told that I can not pay a postal order higher than prescribed fee (10 Rs postal order is not available and I paid Rs. 50 postal order)
4. I am told that since it is voluminous data, and will require huge working hours to collect that information and have to pay for inspection of documents @ Rs. 5 per hour after the first free hour, I have to deposit Rs. 5000-10000, to NIANP cashier and the remaining amount will be returned after my inspection of the documents
(To me this amount appears to be unreasonable, as to the best of my knowledge, this office is a small one with around 65 permanent employees, mostly involved in research, with no major civil/maintenance/printing works). The amount of Rs. 5000/- as per the fee calculations of Rs. 5 per hour indicates 1000 hours, which is about 6 months time, considering 6 hours of working a day and average 25 working days a month. It is unreasonable to consider that 6 months would be required to inspect the documents pertaining to purchases of 3 years duration, considering the nature of works being done in a research organisation.
It may be noted that 2 months and 2 weeks has been over from the date of original application under RTI Act and to the best of my understanding this amounts to denial of information under RTI Act. The information sought is not any kind of personal information related to any party and is purely utilisation of public funds by a public office, the denial of which is not permitted under RTI Act.
I am not clear, if I have to appeal to first appellate authority or can go for a complaint with CIC. Please note that except for the first interim communication from CPIO of NIANP, the other two later communications are from first appellate authority.
Kindly help me to take it further and receive the information sought by me from NIANP
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