Aruna Roy opposes Maharashtra RTI Rule amendments
RTI activist and National Advisory Council (NAC) member, Ms. Aruna Roy has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to repeal the amendments in the Right to Information (RTI) rules in the state.
In January 2012, the state government had made three amendments in the RTI rules which were as under:
- Applications should be limited to a single subject
- Applications should not be more than 150 words
- Applicants not to be permitted to carry anything else other than a pencil while inspecting the documents.
In her letter Ms. Roy has stated that the amendments in RTI rules made by Maharashtra government are contrary to the RTI Act framed by the Parliament.
Citing section 6 (3) of the RTI Act, she said in the letter, “The subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer.”
Therefore, it is evident that the Act allows an application to contain multiple subjects. Defining what constitutes a single subject matter is subjective and can potentially lead to arbitrary interpretations. Ms. Roy has reminded Prithviraj Chavan that as the central minister of Department of Personnel and Training, he himself had struck down the proposal of limiting RTI applications to 500 words.
The letter of Ms. Roy has re-ignited the opposition to the amendment to the RTI rules made by the Maharashtra government.