Information to be provided free to an under-trial prisoner under RTI
An under trial prisoner of the Hyderabad Central Prison had filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking details like complete list of stock exchanges in India and a copy of their procedure manual, model, guideline, policy, rule and regulation, etc. The applicant contended that as he had no proper source of income, he should be considered as a person below poverty line (BPL) and should be provided the information free of cost. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of SEBI, in the reply, asked the applicant to submit a proof of being BPL against which the applicant approached the First Appellate Authority (FAA) reiterating his stance.
Taking notice of earlier judgments by a City Civil Court and a District Court judge, the FAA ruled that the appellant, being an inmate of the jail, is to be considered as a person below poverty line and is entitled to free information under RTI. The FAA has asked the PIO to provide the information about stock markets, including study materials, free of cost to the appellant.
In case of an under-trial prisoner, there is no necessity to have a certificate regarding income from the competent authority to treat him below the poverty line.