Wednesday 10 May 2017
The Central Information Commission on Friday reiterated its recommendation for the issue of RTI-stamps or numbered RTI-coupons as mode for payment of RTI-fees.
“Therefore, there needs to be an immediate remedial action in respect of the confusion thus created as a result of the procedural lacunae resulting in RTI applications getting stuck in such administrative web. Therefore, the Commission felt that DoP&T and Department of Posts necessarily need to coordinate and initiate steps to introduce RTI stamps or numbered RTI coupons to eliminate prevailing ambiguity with regard to Rule 06 of the RTI Rules, 2012, on the mode of payment of RTI Fee keeping in view the experience in handling similar issues on a day to day basis,” Information Commissioner Bimal Julka observed.
While making the suggestion, Mr. Julka noted that similar observations have earlier been made by a full-Bench comprising commissioners Satyananda Mishra, M.L. Sharma and Basant Seth. Subsequently, several other Commissioners had recommended the use of RTI-stamps in their verdicts. A representation in this regard was also made to the DoPT by the Joint Secretary at CIC on directions of the present CIC Radha Krishna Mathur.
The reiteration of the suggestion now came up on an appeal filed by RTI Activist Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal, after his RTI application was returned by the Public authority merely on the basis of the RTI Fee having been furnished in favour of the ‘Accounts Officer’ instead of DDO, D/o Public Enterprises. This, the CIC observed, “highlights the anomaly in the procedures followed in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.”
The suggestion to introduce RTI stamps has, in the past, been rejected by a committee constituted by the Government, opining that such stamps were neither legally nor financially feasible. The Postal Department had then constituted a new committee to take a relook at the issue.