CIC ask the Delhi High Court to amend its RTI rules
In two separate cases, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Delhi High Court to amend its RTI fee rules to bring them in conformity with the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
In one case, applicant LG Dass approached the Patiala House court for certain information which demanded Rs 50 for filing first appeal against the reply provided by its public information officer under the RTI Act as per the Delhi District Court (Right to Information Rules, 2008). These rules were made by the Delhi High Court exercising its power under Section 28 (1) of the Right to Information Act and the Rule 11 provides for charging of fees during the first appeal. This is contrary to the RTI Act which does not have any provision for seeking fee at the stage of filing first appeal. As per the RTI Act, fee is chargeable only at the stage of filing of the RTI application.
Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order, “Imposing a fee of Rs 50 as mandatory requirement at the first appeal level is not in consonance with the fee structure prescribed by Act and rules by central government. Except Rs 10 fee at the stage of filing request for information with the PIO, the law does not prescribe any fee at any stage including at the second appeal level at the information commission”.
In the second case, applicant Vipin Kumar approached Tis Hazari Court for certain information. The CIC observed that: “The High Court being a Constitutional Court which judicially enforce the fundamental rights and adjudicate disputes about statutorily guaranteed right such as RTI, it is legitimately expected to frame rules in accordance with the provisions and spirit of the Right to Information Act. The other Public Authorities generally look to the Hon’ble High Court as model and draw inspiration from. It is in general public interest that the rules made by Delhi High Court or for that matter any High Court in India, should be in conformity with the letter and spirit of RTI Act,…..”
Under section 25(5) of the RTI Act, the CIC has made a recommendation to the Delhi HC to amend the rules to bring it in conformity with RTI Act, for effective provision of access to information and to bring uniformity with the rules made by DoPT.
Readers may also refer to the article “Who would teach law to the High Courts of the country?” link: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/who-would-teach-law-high-courts-country-3313#.U_qiQsWSwlA