RTI Rules Bombay High Court
2012-08-26 11:34:42 GMT
Dear Mr. Mittal
Some of provisions of Odisha High Court Rules are not in conformity with RTI Act . We have raised this issue in Odisha and made recommendation to State Govt. and Registrar, High Court for amendment. Recommendations are as follows.
As per the website of Orissa High Court, the Orissa High Court Rules 2005 was notified in Gazette Notification No.77 dated 23.2.2006 ‘in exercise of power conferred under Section 28(1), Section 2(e)(III) and Section 2(h), read with Section 5 of the Right to Information Act, 2005’.
Rule-3 (Designation and Powers)
As per Rule 3 of the said Rules ‘(a) The Additional Deputy Registrar (J & E) shall be the ex officio State Public Information Officer of the High Court; (b) The Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court shall be the Appellate Authority of the State Public Information Officer in respect of the Public Authority; (c) The Ministerial Officers of the stations as mentioned in Appendix-1 shall be the ex officio State Assistant Public Information Officer of the respective areas; (d) The District Judge of the concerned district shall be the Appellate Authority in respect of the appeal filed against the order of the State Assistant Public Information Officer posted at the Headquarters of the district; (e) The senior most Judicial Officers of the station as indicated in Appendix-I shall be the Appellate Authorities of their respective areas to decide the appeal against the order of the State Assistant Public Information Officer of the concerned area”. Such Rules are applicable to Orissa High Court and one hundred sub-ordinate courts working under its jurisdiction within the state of Orissa.
While we don’t have nothing to say on Rule-3 overall, our recommendation is that Orissa High Court and each of the sub-ordinate courts should be provided with one more Officer to aid and assist the single officer presently appointed to discharge the functions of PIO. Our recommendation is in line with Section 5(1) of RTI Act that says, a public authority should appoint as many PIOs as necessary.
Rule 4 (a)-
It says, ‘A person desirous of an information authorised under the Act may apply for information to State Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer by filling an application with declaration on oath as indicated in the prescribed pro forma in Appendix-II or Appendix-II (A) as the case may be on payment of Rs.50 towards application fees in shape of non-judicial stamp’. The Appendix-II contains the application form in respect of Orissa High Court, and Appendix-II (A) contains application form in respect of Sub-ordinate Courts.
Our recommendation as regards the application form is that the prescription of a compulsory application form and that too in English only is ultra vires Section 6(1) of parent Act, that gives the freedom to an applicant to write his application in his own manner and in any of the languages English, Hindi and official language of the area. The Forms already prescribed should therefore be declared as only Model Forms, not compulsory ones, allowing thereby the freedom to the applicant to write his application in his own manner and also in any of the above 3 languages.
Our recommendation as regards the existing application fee i.e. Rs.50/- to be paid in the shape of non-judicial stamp is unreasonable in view of Section 7(5) of the Act that requires inter alia every fee to be ‘reasonable’. It should be reduced to Rs.10/- only in conformity to the amount prescribed across the country by various authorities including Central Govt and Orissa State Government.
Our recommendation as regards the existing lone mode of payment of application fee i.e. through non-judicial stamp paper is that it is highly restrictive and should therefore be supplemented by such easier and popular modes of payment as Indian Postal Order, Money Order, Cheque/Draft and Treasury Challan.
Moreover, our recommendation is that the Rule should provide for exemption of BPL families from paying any application fees as required under Section 7(5) of RTI Act.
Rule 4 (d)-
It says, ‘The form of application for information shall be obtained from the office of the State Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be at the rate of Rs.10 per form. Each application form shall contain a serial number and signature of the issuing clerk with the date of issue and the seal of the State Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer as the case may be’.
Our recommendation as regards Rule 4(d) is that the very provision for compelling an applicant to procure an application form issued with a unique serial number against it and that too at the cost of Rs.10/- is patently ultra vires the Section 6(1) of the Act already quoted above, and should therefore be abolished.
Rule 4 (c)-
It says, ‘The person applying for such information may obtain the copy thereof on further payment of Rs.20 in shape of non-judicial stamp for each sheet of paper comprising of 180 words or part thereof’.
Our recommendation is that the prescribed fee of Rs.20/- per page is too unreasonable in view of the mandate given under Section 7(5) of RTI Act which as already quoted above says that each fee should be ‘reasonable’. It is therefore required that the fee towards the cost of information per page should be reduced to Rs.2/- only and that too to fall in line with the overall fee regime prevalent in the country including that of the Central Govt and Orissa State Government. And further, the existing lone mode of payment of information fee i.e. through non-judicial stamp paper is highly restrictive and should therefore be supplemented by such easier and popular modes of payment as Indian Postal Order, Money Order, Cheque/Draft and Treasury Challan.
Moreover, the above Rule should provide for exemption of BPL families from paying any fees towards cost of information as required under Section 7(5) of RTI Act.
Rule 4 (f)-
It says, ‘The application form for information shall be issued and received during the office hours of the working days of State Public Information Officer or State Assistant
Public Information Officer as the case may be’.
Our recommendation is that the very provision to compel an applicant to submit his application to the concerned PIO/APIO in person is highly restrictive and ultra vires the parent Act which allows the applicant to submit his application through post and even email in addition to submission in person. It is therefore required that the Rules should provide for submission of application for information through such additional means as post and email.
Rule 4 (h)-
It says, ‘If the required information or decision on the disposal of the application is not received within 3 months, the same will be destroyed and the applicant will have to apply afresh in accordance with the procedure’.
Our recommendation is that the above provision is out and out ultra vires the parent Act. The very provision of allowing the discretion of supplying or not supplying information to the PIO and that too within a spacious timeframe of 3 months is a naked contravention of the Section 7(1) of the parent Act, categorically says, a PIO ‘on receipt of a request under section 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9: provided that where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request’. It is therefore required that the Rule (h) should be abolished and be replaced by appropriate provision binding the PIO to provide or reject the application within the various time-limits prescribed under the Act.
It says, ‘Separate application shall be filed for information in respect of the separate
record or information’. It means that only a single information can be applied for in an application.
Our recommendation is that such a provision is ultra vires the parent Act, especially in view of Sections 2-f (definition of information) and 2-j (definition of right to information), where information has been conceived in a plural sense, i.e. a person has the right to ask for multiple information in a single application. It is therefore required that the above provision should be amended to allow an applicant to request for several information in a single application, as is also the practice now at the level of various public and competent authorities including both Central Government and Government of Orissa.
Moreover, our recommendation is that the Rules should provide for supply of information through various such means as inspection, sample, model, video cassette, computer disk and email, as required under Section 2(f), Section 2(i) and Section 2(j) of RTI Act.
Dear Friends,The above link is for RTI rules of Bombay High Court. If you look at rule 13, it lists additional exemptions other than those defined in section 8(1).I wonder if Bombay High court is empowered u/s 24 to create its own exemptions..overriding an Act of Parliament...If you look at 1st clause, it says that "Information which is not in public domain shall not be disclosed"..It can mean that they are virtually denying most of the information.What is the state at other HCs? And can we do something about it?Regards.Girish Mittal
|The Fun of all these is that Supreme court of India has not at all issued or made its rules and adopts Competent Authority -- GOI rules |
N vikramsimha , KRIA Katte , #12 Sumeru Sir M N Krishna Rao Road , Basvangudi < Bangalore 560004.
--- On Sun, 26/8/12, Pradip Pradhan <pradippradhan63-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
an applicant may furnish the fees by cash against receipt or by money order or by attachinf court fee stsmp of Rs. 20 and i had attached Rs. 20 court fee stamp yo the application which i have recently submitted but PIO bombay high court ignored the rule(rule 17 of high court of Bombay) and asked to pay Rs. 5 by demand draft or pay order
--- On Sun, 26/8/12, Vikram Simha <vikramsimha54-/E1597aS9LQxFYw1CcD5bw@public.gmane.org> wrote:
|If this amounts toSection 18(1) (d) file File Complant with Your IC as per Supreme court orders in 10787-10788 WA (c) |
N vikramsimha , KRIA Katte , #12 Sumeru Sir M N Krishna Rao Road , Basvangudi < Bangalore 560004.
--- On Mon, 27/8/12, prasad vaidya <prasadbvaidya-/E1597aS9LQAvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote: