August 7, 2021 6:13:34 pm
In two public interest litigations of 2018 and 2019 seeking implementation of online filing of RTI applications, the Gujarat High Court on August 5 directed the Principal Secretary, General Administration Department (GAD), to file a revised affidavit on why the online system of RTI Application and payment of fees in Gujarat had not been introduced till date.
In June 2019, the state government submitted an affidavit that the process of establishing online filing of RTI requests was under way and was expected to be completed by March 2020.
The court of Justices Vineet Kothari and Umesh Trivedi observed that what the petitioners — Bandish Soparkar and Sandip Munjyasara — are seeking “appears to be very simple but right and in the present era of technological development, it seems quite practically possible to do so”.
The division bench directed that apart from ascribing reasons on why the same could not be implemented so far, the state must list a time schedule in which online RTI filing can be introduced. Since the process of implementation appears to be simple, the court also sought that “the reasons for not doing so may be submitted to the court in the affidavit to be filed by the Principal Secretary”.
“It is understood that the respondents in one of the affidavits… has stated that the NIC (National Informatics Centre) is ready to undertake the process even at free of cost… there is good reason to introduce such system immediately,” the court order observed.
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