Amendments necessary in RTI Act

SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
(Guinness Record Holder & RTI Activist)

It refers to CIC-decision dated 26.07.2013 in appeal-numbers CIC/SM/A/2013/000401 & 416 wherein the then Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra while dismissing the appeals also observed “this appellant is in habit of filing frivolous RTI applications and following up those applications through the entire appellate mechanism right up to the CIC thereby wasting everyboy’s time”. Bare reading of CIC-verdicts in other about 122 cases filed by the same petitioner reflects that the petitioner has been in habit of filing absolutely frivolous and irrelevant RTI petitions thus wasting precious time of Central Information Commission already overburdened with a backlog of pending petitions. Significantly the petitioner based outside Delhi has never utilised facility of video-conferencing for appearing before the Commission.

Likewise is the case of another petitioner whose complaints are summarily disposed sometimes in hundreds per day (example 30.09.2013) where the petitioner always claims having not received any response from various public-authorities. Such curious cases should also be analysed to ascertain if concerned public-authorities had not actually responded to RTI petitions.

Much can be improved if RTI fees may be uniformly fixed at rupees 50 with first 20 copied pages provided free-of-cost by specifically mentioning for RTI fees in sections 27 and 28 of RTI Act so that no public-authority may have liberty to fix an RTI fees other than stipulated by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT). At the same time since many bodies declared as public-authorities by Central Information Commission approach High Courts against CIC-verdicts, RTI Act should be amended to include all Public-Private-Partnerships, Multi-State-Cooperative-Societies, Sports-Bodies and those bodies getting land/building at subsidised rate/lease from governments as public-authorities under RTI Act.

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