The full bench of Central Information Commission (CIC) has mooted special RTI postal stamps for the users of Right to Information (RTI) Act,2005. The commission feels these stamps would help reduce troubles faced by applicants in terms of Indian postal orders (IPO) and court fee stamp.
While the state government offices accept court fee stamps of Rs 10 denomination as requisite fee,applicants have to use IPOs to pay the RTI fee. IPOs bring with it the added cost of commission to the post offices that has to be borne by applicants.
Many a times,applicants receive their applications back as the IPOs are returned for being wrongly addressed. Also,till the IPOs are not encashed the process of giving information is not started by the public information office.
Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal had filed a complaint seeking streamlining of the RTI application fee process. Agarwal said in many cases applications are rejected owing to the expiry of due date of IPOs. Despite clear instructions from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to accept RTI fee,many post offices were not following norms,he said. Agarwal also highlighted the non availability of IPOs in many of post office.
While hearing the complaint,the bench of CIC comprising Satyanand Mishra,ML Sharma and Basant Seth,agreed that applicants face problems in paying RTI application fees. The bench observed the problems faced by applicants was in contravention to the spirit of the RTI Act.
The best solution to address the fee-related problem is to issue RTI stamps of the denomination of Rs 10 by the Department of Posts. It will be a time saving and cost-effective step, the bench observed.
Welcoming the move,Mumbai-based RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu said this would benefit applicants in the long run. The stamps should be applicable both in state and at the Centre, he said.