Applicant should produce up to date BPL certificate to get the information free of cost
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Election Commission of India seeking list of all the registered political parties along with copies of the rules and regulations governing their registration. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that this was available in the website of the Election Commission of India. He also offered him some information on payment of photocopying charges. The appellant complained to the First Appellate Authority (FAA) that it was not right on the part of the PIO to demand photocopying charges from him since he was an individual below poverty line (BPL) and that the information should be provided to him free of cost. The FAA rejected the appellant’s plea observing that each of the documents produced by him in support of his BPL status showed his age differently and therefore could not be relied upon.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant argued that the documents produced by him were genuine and that he belonged to a BPL family.
View of CIC
The Commission verified the copies of the documents furnished by the appellant and observed that the age status given in each of these varied from the other thereby creating clear doubts about the genuineness of these documents. The CIC held that on the basis of such certificates, the PIO cannot provide the information without the prescribed photocopying charges. The Commission also held that if the appellant is keen on getting the copies of the documents offered by the PIO, he must send the photocopying charges as demanded or furnish an up to date BPL certificate duly issued by the competent authority showing his exact age. The Commission advised the appellant that he is always free to access the Election Commission website and see for himself all the desired information.
Citation: Mr. Saddam Hussain v. Election Commission of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000795
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/998
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