Fee prescribed under any other Act prevails over the fees prescribed by RTI Rules
The appellant filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Controller of Patents and Designs (CoP&D) seeking copy of license agreement and working statement of a particular Patent number, submitted by patentee/ licensee from 1996 to 2010. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that for obtaining any certified copy relating to any patent document under the Patent Act, the appellant should apply to the Controller of Patent with prescribed fees as per Schedule-I of the Patent Act and Patent Rules.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that he submitted a Demand Draft (DD) for obtaining the same as per the statutory fees. The respondent stated that the DD was not received by the Office and hence the certified copy of working statement cannot be issued. The respondent also stated that the certified copy of license agreement was not registered and entered in the Register of Patents till date due to some objections raised by the Office. In this context, the License Agreement is not open to public under section 69(4) of the Patents Act and not disclosed to any persons except under the order of a Court.
View of CIC
The Commission referred to its earlier decision (case No. CIC/AT/A/2007/00112) wherein it was held that the fees prescribed under any other Act for disclosure will prevail over the fees prescribed by the RTI Rules, in case the public authority has already decided to disclose the information. The Commission advised the appellant to get the requisite information after depositing the statutory fees as prescribed in Schedule-I of the Patent Act and Patent Rules and not under the RTI Act.
There has been a difference of opinion between different benches on this issue. Would it not be proper to amend the fee rules to maintain harmony and to avoid unnecessary litigation?
Citation: Mr. Tanmoy Roy v Controller of Patents & Designs in Case No. CIC/SS/C/2012/000301 & CIC/SS/C/2012/000326
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1130
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