Can PIO refuse to accept RTI application if higher fee is paid than that prescribed?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Principal Accountant General, West Bengal seeking information relating to the recruitment of multitasking staff. The Public Information Officer (PIO) returned the RTI application along with the IPO Stating that it was not drawn in favour of the Pay and Accounts Officer (Audit) and office of the Principal Accountant General (A&E). The PIO also advised him to reapply along with the appropriate application fee.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that they did not entertain the RTI application because the appellant failed to endorse the IPO in favour of the appropriate officer and sent an IPO Rs. 100/- instead of sending only Rs. 10.5/-.
View of CIC
The Commission held that the PIO should not have declined to accept the RTI application on such technical grounds as the public authority has not published in advance the exact manner in which the citizens must endorse the IPO. On visiting the website of the public authority, the Commission found that there is no mention of payment of application fee by IPO. The CIC ruled that the appellant cannot be faulted if he had no idea of how to endorse the IPO. The PIO has to provide the information and ask separately the information seeker to deposit the application fee in the appropriate manner. The CIC directed the PIO to bring this to the notice of his superiors in the office so that the departmental website is suitably modified to include the IPO as a way of depositing the application fee. The CIC also advised the appellant to make a fresh application with the appropriate application fee if he is interested in the information.
Citation: Mr. J S Rahi v. Principal Accountant General in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001466
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1272
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