Can the fee for the RTI application be paid through postal order?
The appellant had filed an RTI application with the Central Bank of India. The Public Information Officer (PIO) declined to accept the application fee paid through postal order (IPO) and advised the applicant to send a demand draft instead. After receiving the demand draft, the PIO had written to the branch manager for sending the information. The applicant filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission (CIC) on the grounds of delay in supply of information and for non-acceptance of the IPO. The Commission issued a show cause notice to the PIO to explain why the information was not provided in time and why the application fee paid by way of IPO was disallowed. The PIO produced a circular of the bank issued in which it was mentioned that the application fee should be deposited only by way of cash against receipt or demand draft or bankers’ cheque. The branch manager produced records to show that he had supplied the information to the PIO very promptly within 34 days of receiving his communication. The PIO pleaded that he should not be penalised for having returned the IPO in the first place because he was acting on the circular of the bank which did not include the IPO in its list of instruments and that he never received the information sent by the branch manager.
View of CIC
The Commission pointing at the shoddy manner of working in the bank observed that it is the bank which was clearly at the fault for not amending its circular in tune with the Central Government notifications and said that the whole story appears to be unbelievable but gave the benefit of doubt to the PIO. Under section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act, the Commission awarded a compensation of Rs. 5000/- to the appellant for the loss and detriment suffered by him in pursuing the application for two years.
For any doubts related to fee, a PIO of any Central Government public authority should refer to the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005.
Citation: Shri Gopal Singh v. Central Bank of India in File No.CIC/SM/C/2009/001297
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/298
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