SC: Take a decision on providing RTI information electronically
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Madhya Pradesh-based lawyer Rajeev Agrawal, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre and all the states to take a decision regarding setting up of a mechanism to provide information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act through electronic means in three weeks.
There is no provision of receiving the application through electronic means in almost of the states, UTs and State Information Commissions. The petitioner alleged that non-implementation of mandatory provisions of the RTI Act is resulting in violation of fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The petitioner contended that it is unfortunate that even after nine (9) years of enactment of the RTI Act, the mandate contained in section 6(1) read with section 4 and 26(3)(c) has not yet seen the light of day till date in almost all of the states of India.
Referring to certain provisions of the RTI Act which provides that a person can make a request in writing or through electronic means for seeking information, the petitioner sought a direction to all the states and the UTs to create a centralized RTI website for submission of RTI application and allow online filing of appeals and payment of fees by using Internet in respect of every public authority of the government under the RTI Act, 2005. A bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri said that “It appears the petitioner has filed the representations with the authorities. It seems, as of now, no decision has been taken. We direct the respondents (states and UTs) to take a decision within three weeks.”
The petioner sought directions to the states and others for constituting call centre as voice facilitation centre for filing RTI applications and appeals over the phone citing the example of “Jaankari” an initiative taken by Bihar government.