PIO: Available photocopier machine is not capable to get the photocopy done of the larger pages measuring as 73*49 cm each page; Fee demanded as per the market rate - CIC: Provide relief in a cost effective manner; Soft copies to save paper also
The appellant has sought the extract of register of institution/filing details for the year 2017, maintained by the National Green Tribunal, (WZB), Pune.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has demanded charges for photocopy of documents, which are not as per the rules framed under RTI Act.
Written Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent:
The appellant through his written submission stated that the CPIO vide letter dated 20.07.2018 advised the appellant to remit Rs 1090/- in excess of fee prescribed under the RTI Act which states fee to be charged is Rs 2/- per page only. He further pointed out that the first appeal dated 07.08.2018 was incorrectly dismissed by the FAA stating that Rs 20/- per page claimed is correct which is higher than the amount stated under the Act. He requested to direct the CPIO to provide information @ Rs 2 per page. He summed up stating that for 42 pages the amount payable is Rs 84/-.
The CPIO submitted through her written submission that an apt reply was sent to the appellant vide letter dated 20.07.2018. She further submitted that the first appeal was also dismissed on the ground that one page measured 73*49 cm of the register and the photocopy of the Register is beyond the capacity of photocopier machine available in office. There are a total 42 pages in the Register for the year 2017. However, an option available was to split one page of the Register in 2 parts, get it scanned, printed on A/4 size paper and then pasted so as to make a single page. Thus @ Rs 20/- per page, the total cost would be Rs 840/-. The postal charge was approx. Rs 250/- and which could vary. She further submitted that the then CPIO had called a quotation from Shri Ravechi Stationary & Xerox for scanning & printing the Register of application, who mentioned the amount of Rs 840/- . She further submitted that as per Rule 4(b) of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee & Cost) Rules, 2005 “For providing the information, the fee be charged at the actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper”. She summed up stating that the contention of the appellant with respect to decreasing the fee charged may be rejected. She also submitted that the available photocopier machine at the office of the Respondent is not capable to get the photocopy done of the larger pages measuring as 73*49 cm per page and to get the photocopy done from the market at the prevailing market rate, the appellant may be directed to deposit the sum as per the current market rate and collect the copy of “the extract of Register of Application during the calendar year 2017” from NGT, Pune.
On a query by the Commission, the appellant informed over phone that he will be satisfied if soft copies are given to him. The CPIO was enquired about the feasibility of the same. She agreed to provide the same, subject to payment of scanning charges as per the prevailing rates. She expressed her inability to provide the same free of cost, due to unavailability of big photocopier machine in their office.
Based on the averments of both the parties, the Commission is of the opinion that relief can be given to the appellant, in a cost effective manner and saving paper also. As agreed by the appellant for receiving soft copies, the CPIO can inform the applicant the current market rate for scanning of 42 pages. The appellant can accordingly pay the same and get the soft copies of the documents. It is relevant to mention here that the soft copies would eliminate the postal charges requirement.
In view of the above observations and taking into consideration the current lockdown period, the CPIO is directed to provide the revised cost details to the appellant within 45 days from the date of receipt of the order. The appellant shall pay the scanning charges and obtain the copies accordingly.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: K Balasubramaniam v. National Green Tribunal in Decision no.: CIC/NGTRI/A/2018/164307/03202, Date of Decision: 30/03/2020