BJP MP from Ahmednagar Dilip Gandhi’s letter to the district collector asking for details of RTI applications has put both the district administration and RTI activists into a tizzy.
The letter has asked the collector to provide copies of all the RTI applications filed in all the district offices, along with names and addresses of the applicants. While Gandhi says this is an ongoing process to review the functioning of the RTI Act, his letter says the information is required as the MP intends to move a private member’s ‘Amendment of Bill’ in Parliament.
Gandhi’s letter says the RTI Act has been used by individuals/ institutions and political parties over the years. It says there are serial applicants who keep on applying at various departments. Gandhi has sought information of the RTI applications that have been submitted to the various offices in Ahmednagar district as well as the replies given. The MP has asked for the information to be tabulated by the collectorate. Details of “serial applicants” have been sought too.
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“It is my intention to introduce an Amendment of Bill either as a private member’s or through my party in the upcoming session of the Parliament. This information is required for the same,” the letter reads.
Frivolous applicants, multiple applications by the same person have been some of the complaints aired by former and present state information commissioners (SICs), which they say amount to misuse of the law.
Speaking to The Indian Express, however, Gandhi said the purpose of his letter was different. Denying any move to amend the law, the MP said this collation of information was happening across the country as part of a review of the working of the law.
“I chair the parliamentary committee of subordinate legislation and we have decided to conduct a review of the existing rules of the Act. This exercise is being carried out across the country and we will suggest changes in the rules after we study the information,” he said.
City-based RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “The district collectorate should publish all information sought by the MP on its website and also publish the cost incurred.”