Demand of further fee of Rs. 5.59 lakhs by the public authority
The Public Information Officer (PIO) of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has allegedly demanded a fee of Rs. 5.59 Lakhs for providing a reply to a RTI application seeking information on building plans approved in the central zone of Surat. Illegal construction by occupiers and tenants on government-owned lands in central zone, Begampura and Zampa Bazaar areas were a matter of concern for the applicant.
Such an action indicates the poor knowledge of the RTI Act on the part of the public authority. It would be difficult to imagine that the PIO had examined that the information involved 2.795 lakh pages and had then made a demand of a further fee of Rs. 5.59 lakh pages. In all such cases, the PIO should call the applicant for the inspection of the records taking recourse to section 7(9) An information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question. of the RTI Act.