Mode of payment of fee with the RTI application
The appellant sought the information regarding some public interest litigation he had filed before the Bombay High Court. The Public Information Officer (PIO) did not accept the application fee paid by way of postal order (IPO) stating that the Bombay High Court exercising the powers vested in it as a competent authority under section 28 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act had framed the Bombay High Court RTI Rules, 2009 according to which fee should be deposited by way of cash / demand draft / money order only. The appellant argued that since the Supreme Court of India accepts application fee through the IPO, the Bombay High Court should also accept the same.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal observing that the appellant cannot compel the PIO to accept an RTI application which is not accompanied with the application fee as prescribed under the Bombay High Court rules. The Commission also advised the appellant to make a fresh application along with the application fee in the prescribed manner if he was interested in getting the information.
While the order is technically right, having multiple ‘Competent authority’ with the powers to frame fee rules has created a problem wherein a citizen is forced to study the fee rules every time he wants to file a RTI application. Should it not be made as ‘India One’ – wherein there is a single set of rules for all public authority? In a federal structure, it is not too difficult.
Citation: Shri Babji Bhushan Rao v. Bombay High Court in File No.CIC/SM/C/2011/900948
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/299
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission