State government rules mar spirit of RTI Act: study

May 15th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Right to Information (RTI) Act has become a complicated tool for the common man to use because of different rules framed by various state governments, a study by a voluntary organisation says. On the basis of a research in seven states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Orissa, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh - this year, the Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) study concludes that the state RTI rules going against the spirit of the RTI Act would create doubts in the citizens’ minds instead of facilitating access to information.

The study notes: “The Delhi High Court and Allahabad High Court have fixed Rs.500 as the application fee for seeking information while the Karnataka government has framed RTI rules which require the request for information to be related to one subject and not exceeding 150 words.”

In contrast to the mandate of the RTI Act that access to information should be affordable, the rate of application in Haryana is Rs.50, not a small amount for a common man, it says.

In Orissa, the cost for receiving information in the form of photocopies is Rs.5 per page and in Haryana it is Rs.10.

“It is worth noting that the central rules stipulate the rate per page photocopied to be Rs.2 per page,” the study states.

Such observations led to the conclusion that “such state government rules coming within three years of the drafting of the RTI Act create doubts in the minds of the citizens about the intention of the state governments and competent authorities to facilitate citizens’ access to information”.

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