The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Delhi High Court to make necessary amendments in its RTI rules. The “rules” cited by the CIC include RTI fee rules for lower courts that they need to adhere to for maintaining conformity with the Right to Information Act.
The case was referred to the CIC after Patiala House Court sought INR 50 from an applicant for filing first appeal in response to the reply given by its Central Public Information Officer under the RTI Act.
As per the RTI Act, a fee can only be charged during the filing of the RTI application. The law does not permit any authority to levy fee at the stage of the first appeal within a department or during the second appeal before the Commission.
“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,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order, as reported by the Economic Times.
“Right to information can be culled out from fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21 and from freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) which was more specifically guaranteed by Right to Information Act,” he added.