For More Info Log on to

Google Groups Subscribe to RTI Group
Browse Archives at

Friday, May 28, 2010

Payment of fee under the RTI Act 2005: scope of sub-section (3) of Section 7 of the Act

Payment of fee under the Right to lnformation Act. 2005 - scope of sub-section (3) of Section 7 of the Act

Posted: 26 May 2010 01:29 AM PDT

Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
(Department of Personnel and Training)

North Block, New Delhi
Dated the 24th May, 2010


Subject: Payment of fee under the Right to lnformation Act. 2005 - scope of sub-section (3) of Section 7 of the Act.


The Undersigned is directed to say that a question is raised from time to time whether a Public lnformation Officer (PIO) has power to charge fee under Section 7(3) of the RTI Act, 2005 in addition to fee prescribed under Sections 6(1), 7(1) and 7(5) of the Act.

2.Section 6(1) of the Act enables the Government to prescribe application fee and sub-sections (1) and (5) of Section 7 to prescribe fee in addition to application fee for supply of information. On the other hand sub-section (3) of Section 7 provides the procedure which a PI0 has to follow for realizing the fee prescribed under sub-sections (1) and (5) of the Section. Details of fees that can be charged by a public authority under the Central Government are contained in the Right to information (Regulation of Fee & Cost) Rules, 2005. The Rules or the Act do not give power to the PI0 to charge any fee other than prescribed in the Fee and Cost Rules. Attention in this regard is invited to following extracts from the common order passed by the Central Information Commission in Appeal No. CI/MA/A/2008/0185 (Shri K.K. Kishore Vs. Institute of Company Secretaries of lndia) and Complaint No.CIC/WB/C/2007/00943 (Shri Subodh Jain Vs. Dy. Commissioner of Police) :

"The Act under proviso to sub-section (5) of Section 7 also provides that fee prescribed under sub-sections (1) and (5) of Section 7 shall be reasonable and no such fee shall be charged from the persons who are below poverty line as may be determined by the Appropriate Government. The Government has already prescribed fees as deemed reasonable mandated under Sections 7(1) and 7(5) of the Act and in the view of the Commission, there is no provision for any further fee apart from the one already prescribed under Sections 7(1) and 7(5) of the Act".

"Thus, there is provision for charging of fee only under Section 6(1) which is the application fee; Section 7(1) which is the fee charged for photocopying etc. and Section 7 (5) which is for getting information in printed or electronic format. But there is no provision for any further fee and if any further fee is being charged by the Public Authorities in addition to what is already prescribed under Section 6(1), 7(1) and 7(5) of the Act, the same would be in contravention of the Right to Information Act. The "further fee" mentioned in Section 7(3) only refers to the procedure in availing of the further fee already prescribed under 7(5) of the RTI Act, which is "further" in terms of the basic fee of Rs.10/-. Section 7(3), therefore, provides for procedure for realizing the fees so prescribed".

3. The Commission, while delivering decision in above cases, recommended to this Department to make rules, for charging fee towards supply of information which may include fee for supply of books, maps, plans, documents, samples, models etc. that are priced and towards postal/courier charges for mailing information, when postal/courier charges are in excess of minimum slab prescribed by the Department of Posts and for other similar situations.

4. The Right to Information (Regulation of Fee & Cost) Rules, 2005 already provide provisions for charging of fee for giving information in diskettes or floppies or in the form of photo copy; for providing samples, models, printed material like books, maps, plans etc; and for inspection of records. The Government have, however, not considered it desirable to charge fee towards expenditure involved in mailing information or overhead expenditure etc. Nevertheless, supply of information in a form which would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority is taken care of by Section 7(9) of the Act according to which information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought but supply of information in a particular form may be refused if supply of information in that form would divert the resources of the public authority disproportionately.

5. It is hereby clarified that where a Public Information Officer takes a decision to provide information on payment of fee in addition to the application fee, he should determine the quantum of such fee in accordance with the fee prescribed under the Fee and Cost Rules referred to above and give the details of such fee to the applicant together with the calculation made to arrive at such fee. Since the Act or the Rules do not provide for charging of fee towards postal expenses or cost involved in deployment of man power for supply of information etc., he should not ask the applicant to pay fee on such account. However, wherever supply of information in a particular form would disproportionately divert the resources of the publicauthority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the records, the PIO may refuse to supply the information in that form.

6. Contents of this OM may be brought to the notice of all concerned.

(K.G. Verma)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CIC to approach SC as ICs refuse to work

Raminder Singh (

India's FoI watchdog the Central Information Commission "CIC" has decided to approach the Indian Supreme Court next week against a recent order of the Delhi High Court which has caused at least 3 of its members to inform the Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah that they shall not be hearing cases from next week as this would amount to contempt of court.

For complete news please visit:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

CIC exceeding its powers: Delhi High Court

A Division Bench of Delhi High Court, comprising of Justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal, in a historic judgement on Friday, the 21.05.10, came down heavily on CIC and its chief on its order against VC DDA after he failed to appear before it with regard to an RTI matter.

CIC had passed orders dated 22.09.09 on a complaint filed by Mr Sarabjit Roy , Advocate, in 2005 requesting for directions to DDA to fulfil its obligation to provide info required to be provided suo motto u/s 4 of RTIA05. CIC vide its orders dated 25.02.06 had directed PIO DDA to fulfil its obligation for suo motto declaration of info u/s 4 of RTIA05 within 30 days. Thereafter, Mr S Roy filed another complaint against DDA saying that CIC orders dated 25.02.06 had not been complied with by then. DDA thereafter uploaded voluminous info on its website. During hearing of Mr S Roys complaint on 03.09.09, CIC noted that voluminous info had since been uploaded on DDA website but it was not properly organized and was causing more confusion. CIC in its orders dated 22.09.09 directed VC DDA to be present personally at the next hearing in this matter and formed a committee to look into the allegation. Aggrieved by these orders, DDA filed a writ petition u/s 226 of Constitution of India requesting for (i) quashing of CIC Management Regulations 2007 on the ground that they were ultravires of RTIA05, (ii) quashing of Chap 4 with specific emphasis on regulation 20 of RTIA05 which made provision for conduct of an enquiry, (iii) expressed grief at the fact that VC DDA was required to be present at the hearing by CIC and that adverse comments were made against him when he could not thus be present. The petitioner pointed out that CIC did not have plenary powers which were vested with High Courts and Supreme Courts and had only the power to summon and enforce attendance for giving evidence.

“This is a case where the Central Information Commission and Chief Information Commissioner have travelled beyond their boundaries of power and have thereby transgressed the provisions of the very Act which created them,” said the Bench. It quashed the CIC management Regulations 2007, set aside the Commission’s order appointing an enquiry committee, comprising Director Ministry of Urban Development, Shujata Chaturvedi, Dunu Roy from Hazards Centre, an NGO, and Pankaj KP Shreyaskar, Joint Registrar, CIC to enquire into servicing of RTIA05 by all wings and sections of DDA. and set aside the CIC’s September 2009 order against VC DDA saying “no adverse inference could have been drawn for the absence of VC DDA. The Bench noted that CIC could call any person to be present in the hearing before it for the purposes of giving evidence—oral or written or for producing any document. The VC DDA was however not summoned for either giving oral evidence or written evidence or to produce any document or things in his possession. He was directed to be present for other reason, that power is not there with the CIC.”

In regard to suo motto declaration of info by public authorities, the bench noted that section 4 merely sets out the obligations of public authorities, it does not set out the machinery to enforce the implementation of these obligations.

It is well known that most public authorities have still not complied with the requirements of sec 4 of RTIA05. Its implementation will now become more difficult if CIC continues to have such casual attitude in this matter. In my opinion, a proper way to enforce sec 4 of RTIA would be for CIC to consider PIO as the prime nodal authority to ensure it is done and penalize him if it is not done. It is not necessary to call Heads of Offices for hearing in this matter (except for evidence to verify the statement of PIO, if any) and to constitute committees for this purpose. I think the judgement is very good and should be an eye openor for the very casual manner in which CIC is working for implementation of RTIA05. Instead of punishing the defaulter PIOs for non compliance of sec 4 of RTIA05, CIC tries to confuse the matter by appointing such committees to look into the allegations and calling Heads of Offices during hearing, which are both truly outside his powers.

M K Singhal

Monday, May 10, 2010


When you sent an RTI application to Municipal Corporation of Delhi, please address it properly as the MCD is returning applications addressed to the CPIO, MCD. Subhash Social and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal sent an RTI application by speed post on 22nd April addressed to the CPIO, MCD, Townhall, Delhi-6 which was returned to him on 28th with the remark that “no such post at MCD Townhall”. Under the government directives, RTI application can be sent to the CPIO through the Head of the Department to his/her address. RTI Act also states that such application should be transferred to the concerned PIO within five days and reply time for such applications is 35 days instead of 30. For sending RTI application to the correct addressee at MCD, exact name, designation and address can be taken from the MCD website. Bureaucracy is making some innovation daily to avoid the RTI applications. In one case, one PIO has refused to part information saying that the applicant is ‘terrorist’ though his son has laid his life for the country as he was in the defence services. Now, the applicant is approaching the Prime Minister on the issue. The News Services Division, All India Radio has stopped calling the writer on the temporary duty and when he asked the reason for this, he was, interalia, informed, “his bonafides are doubtful”. His fault, he filed some RTI applications sensing some fishy things in the working of the AIR and one such issue was awarding the contract to a private placement agency for providing casual stenos to AIR. When he asked the basis to conclude this, PIO has given an affidavit that no further information is available in the records.

Returning the application of Mr. Agarwal is a fit case of complaint u.s. 18 of the RTI Act to the Central Information Commission.

(With news inputs form Dainik Jagran, 10.5.2010)

Report by Shri M K Gupta

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Use these formats to pinpoint your Information Commissioner’s failures & misdoings

RTI Act 2005 is a simple law, which does not require the reading and interpretation of any other law or statute. It is a simple contract between the citizen and the administration, requiring the administration to furnish information within a tight time-frame to the citizen who requests it. The intent of the Act is made clear by its preamble: “Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed…”

The duties and powers of Central & State Information Commissioners (CICs & SICs) are clearly defined in Section 18, 19 and 20. Section 19(5) and Section 20(1) mandate that they should demand justification from the PIO for denying the requested information.

Acceptable justifications are listed in Sections 8, 9 and 11. Sections 2(f), 2(h) or 2(j) may also be used as grounds for denial, if the RTI application asks for something that are not defined as “information” or “record” by the RTI Act, or if information is requested from a body that is not a “public authority”.

Other than the above specified reasons, RTI Act does not allow denial of information. But, as we all know, CICs and SICs are lenient to the administration, largely because so many of them are selected from among retired bureaucrats who wield undue influence or owe undue favours.

Maharashtra & Mumbai RTI activists, please fill up your details in the new easy-to-fill form, and email it to us. (How to fill up? Download the forms and write according to sample shown in red):

1) RTI compliance of Chief SIC Dr Suresh Joshi:

2) RTI compliance of SIC Ramanand Tiwari:

The above forms are designed to pinpoint common misdoings & failures of Information Commissioners, namely:

a) Undue delay between date of filing second appeal/complaint and actual hearing

b) Undue delay between date of hearing and passing of order

c) Jumping-the-queue and arbitrariness i.e. Some appellants get very quick hearing and order, while others wait months or even years.

d) PIO is not asked for justification as per Sec 19(5). Information Commissioner makes excuses on behalf of PIO and public authority.

e) PIO’s justifications are accepted even if they are not as per any provision of RTI Act e.g. Sec 8, 9 and 11.

f) Information Commissioners pass orders supposedly in favour of appellant, asking PIO to furnish information within X number of days, but without imposing any penalty on PIO or awarding compensation to appellant. This defeats the time-bound nature of the Act.

g) After passing such loose orders, Information Commissioners fail to secure compliance, so that the appellant fails to get information. This renders the RTI application completely fruitless and destroys the faith of citizens in the RTI Act.

Please email your filled-up forms to activist G R Vora who is leading this initiative. The information that you give will be useful for compiling statistics, making representations to the government (especially the Governor), and submitting reports to higher judiciary and media.

For queries, contact: G R Vora 98691 95785,

Warm Regards,

98215 88114

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kashmiri doctor tops IAS exam

Shah Faisal (27), a doctor by profession from Jammu & Kashmir has made history by topping the prestigious Indian civil services exam. He pledged to be a role model for the youth from his state and said that he wants to work for Jammu and Kashmir, "and my people".
He belongs to a middle class family from Kupwara comprising mother Mubeenaji, a younger brother and a young sister.
Earlier he had topped the MBBS exams from the Jhelum Valley Medical College in Srinagar.
During his college days, Faisal has been a Right To Information (RTI) activist.
He came first among 875 candidates - 680 males and 195 females, all of whom will get to join the prestigious Indian Foreign Service, IAS, IPS or any other central service.
Posted by
Dr Mohammed Naved Khan
AMU, Aligarh

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Exclusion of Frivolous or Vextious application - Request to Mr.Shailesh Gandhi

From: Col NR Kurup colnrkurup(AT)
Date: Wed, May 5, 2010 at 4:48 PM
Subject: [MAP_INDIA] Exclusion of Frivolous or Vextious application - Request to Mr.Shailesh Gandhi
To: shailesh gandhi shaileshgan(AT)

Hope Mr.Shailesh Ghandi still maintain contact with RTI forums. Though RTI Activists had some misunderstanding with Mr.Gandhi for some time, his present timely reaction to DoPT's proposed amendment to exclude "frivolous or vexatious" application has adequately compensated. It is fully agreed that the frivolous and vexatious bit is the most dangerous..

The same way the CIC or SIC is given the prerogative of ...."is of the opinion" for impossing penalty under Section 20 or charging cost of providing information "as determined by him " stipulated in Section7(3)(a) or the way the CIC/SIC having no accountability, claiming themselves as Courts with all the powers under CPC, specifically Section 11 - Resjudicata exclusion of frivolous or vexatious clause will give a free hand to PIOs to decide this factor by himself. As Mr.Gandhi has correctly projected 'the department is bound to be vexed whenever an inconvenient information is sought. I have no doubt in my mind that this single provision will be good enough weapon for the public authorities to reject any application and naturally with this provision the Act will be finished.

I have no faith in the DoPT's claim that any amendment will be made only after consultation with the stake holders. How can the DoPT consult wilh RTI foot-soldiers like you and me ? This claim is only a window dressing. Recently the DoPT has published a questionnire for the so called stakeholders to respond. I do not know about others, but my effort to post it bounced.

Mr.Shailesh Gandhi can help us.The Nation can defenitely benefit from selecting him from us Media just does not listen to the stakeholders voice. But it cannot ignore the statement or reaction of Mr.Shailesh Gandhi as an Information Commissioner. He should keep on facing the media with this opposition. He himself or someone on his behalf can gather on line opposition petition from us and Mr.Gandhi can present it to the DoPT on behlaf of the stake holders. If Mr.Gadhi is determined the DoPT just won't be able to carry out above amendment. I request Mr.Gamdhi to rise to the occassion. This is the opportunity for Mr.Gandhi to pay back.