The proposed regulations for filing second appeals under the Right to Information Act (RTI) have come under criticism from activists who claim they are detrimental to the Act and serve to kill its very spirit.
The draft regulations framed by the General Administration Department (GAD) of the government of Maharashtra,if passed,would be applicable to second appeals filed before the sate information commissioner (SIC). The regulations have been sent to the RTI cell of Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHDA),for examination and discussion.
According to the draft regulations,every appellant would have to file an annexure A to declare that the information sought is not related to any court case. The regulations also state that the applicant has to sent a copy of the second appeal to the public information officer concerned and the first appellate authority.
The rules also state that notice of hearing,to the appellant and others involved,should be served by the party itself by hand or head of the office or department by displaying the hearing schedule on notice board or website,or sending it by registered post. RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said,Nowhere in the Act has it been mentioned that information required for court cases cannot be sought under RTI. Also,why should the applicant be burdened with the extra cost of sending copies of appeals to both the public information officer and the first appellant authority? He stated that going by the lethargy most government departments display,the information about hearings would most probably be put up on the notice board.
He said,How would parties know about the hearing? Is every party expected to visit the commissions office regularly?