Can appeals for deficiency of services under RTI be filed in the consumer forum?
An application was filed with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Koramangala, Bangalore under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by one of the engineers working in the institute seeking some information.
As the institute failed to provide the demanded information to the applicant, he approached the Central Information Commission (CIC). After the CIC ordered the institute to provide the requested information to the appellant, the IIA collected Rs. 600 (Rs. 286 and Rs. 314 on two different occasions) as RTI fee for the documents. However, the institute could provide the information to the applicant only after the stipulated 30-day deadline was passed, following which the RTI applicant approached consumer forum contending that the delayed disbursal of information tantamounts to deficiency of services.
The Third Additional Urban Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum accepted the plea stating that a public authority has to provide some services under the RTI Act and failing to do so amounts to deficiency of services. The forum found that as the information was supplied after the stipulated time period of 30 days, it must be provided to the applicant free of cost under Section 7 of the RTI Act. Hence, the forum directed the institute to refund to the applicant the collected amount along with Rs. 900 as the cost of litigation.
Readers may refer to the article “Additional remedy for RTI applicants under the Consumer Protection Act” Read at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/additional-remedy-rti-applicants-under-consumer-pr-2642#.UvBGkPmSxOE