Amendment in RTI Rules – limit of 500 words per application
As per a recent amendment in the RTI rules, the citizen seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act need to limit their application to below 500 words in order to get their application accepted. The DoPT is yet to put the amendment notification on its website. The changes made in the Act says that:
- An application shall be accompanied by a fee of rupees ten and shall ordinarily not contain more than five hundred words, excluding annexures, containing address of the Central Public Information Officer and that of the applicant,
- No application shall be rejected on the ground that it contains more than five hundred words.
- An applicant will have to pay additional postal charges involved in supply of information that exceeds fifty rupees.
- There will be no fee charged from a person below the poverty line for providing a copy of the certificate issued by the appropriate government in this regard.
A new format has been devised for filing an appeal to the Central Information Commission (CIC) under the RTI Act. The appeal filed by an aggrieved person has to be accompanied by:
- a copy of the application submitted to the Central Public Information Officer,
- a copy of reply received, if any, from the CPIO,
- a copy of the appeal made to the First Appellate Authority,
- a copy of the order received, if any, from the FAA,
- copies of other documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in his appeal and an index of documents referred to in the appeal.
- The rules say that an appeal may be returned by the CIC to the appellant, if it is not accompanied by the documents as specified. However, no appeal shall be dismissed only on the ground that it has not been made in the specified format.
- The appellant may be present in person, through an authorised representative or through video conferencing at the time of hearing of the appeal by the CIC.
- The Commission shall not consider an appeal unless it is satisfied that the appellant has availed of all the remedies available to him under the Act.
- The fee can be paid in cash or by demand draft, banker's cheque, postal order or by electronic means in case such facility is available with the public authority. Online payment of fee can be implemented only after the department of post launches the e-postal order.
There is no mention about audio conferencing (telephone call), which was earlier allowed.
We call for comments from readers whether they welcome the changes in the RTI rules.