How to file an RTI application
- Porn ban: Govt lifts ban on websites sans child pornography
- Mumbai attacks: Five explosive revelations made by Tariq Khosa
- Parliamentary panel on land bill postpones meet following suspension of Congress MP
- Combative Opposition stalls Parliament proceedings
- Missing Pawan Hans chopper sighted, rescue operation to resume tomorrow
What are the new rules for?
They are called the RTI Rules 2012 and supersede the Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules and the RTI (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, both 2005, and which have made information more accessible than ever. The new rules were notified on July 31 but have not yet been implemented; they are waiting to be tabled in Parliament. The Department of Personnel and Training had initiated the process 21 months ago and took the advice of many stakeholders. The notification, which contains 15 rules and is yet to be posted on the DoPT website, has been accessed by The Indian Express.
As per rule 3, an application "shall ordinary not contain more than 500 words, excluding annexures, containing address of the CPIO and that of the applicant". Though the words have been limited, 500 is still more than the 150-word limit set in Bihar (where any application must be on only one subject), Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Though the notification adds that "no application shall be rejected only on the ground that it contains more than 500 words", Venkatesh Naik of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information fears that "the CPIOs may refuse applications and deny information on this ground".
As per rules 3 and 4, the applicant has to pay postal charges when these exceed Rs 50. Other charges remain the same: Rs 10 for processing, Rs 5 per hour for inspection of documents with the first hour free. Under rule 4(e), an applicant will have to pay "price fixed for a publication or Rs 2 per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication." Since information under RTI is free for people living below the poverty line, it means such publications will be accessible free to any applicant who submits a BPL certificate.