Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Does one have to pay for right to information?

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 14, 2006

Does one have to pay for right to information?
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, July 12
Can government departments ask for payment of salary of government employees involved in sending information sought under the Right to Information Act?

According to a letter written to Mr Gunraj Singh, former Wild Life Warden, by the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Hoshiarpur, this seems to be the case. The DFO, Hoshiarpur, has asked for Rs 2,228 from Mr Gunraj Singh to provide him with information sought by him. This amount, as per the letter available with The Tribune includes Rs 2,220 — three-day salary of forest employees — and Rs 8 as xerox charges.

The DFO has stated that a senior assistant and clerk had spent three days in compiling the information sought. Their salary worked out to be Rs 485 and Rs 257 per day, respectively. The information would be provided only after the amount was deposited in the form of draft in the name of District Information Officer, Forest Department.

The State Chief Information Commissioner, Mr Rajan Kayshap, when contacted, on the phone, said the Act did not lay any such provision. The government department could only charge Rs 2 per page as xerox charges for the pages being sent to the person seeking information.

He said if the information was not provided by the officer concerned, the aggrieved person could file a complaint before him.

Mr Gunraj Singh had under the Right to Information Act asked the DFO, Hoshiarpur, for details of expenditure from January 1, 2005, to March 31, 2006. He had also asked for details of projects under which the funds were utilised, the village-wise details of utilisation of funds and the amount spent on wildlife century projects.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Gunraj Singh alleged that the forest officials were not providing him the information under one pretext or the other. Earlier too department had asked for Rs 400 from him as xerox charges for providing the information. That amount was deposited in the form of draft. Despite that no information had been provided.

The DFO, Mr R.R. Kakkar, claimed that they had the right to ask for the amount spent on processing information. The amount had been sought from Mr Gunraj Singh as per the provisions of the Act, he added.

3 Responses to “Does one have to pay for right to information?”

  1. Dhirendra Krishna said

    A complaint should be filed with State Information Commissioner, with a request that fine should be imposed on the officer who has made such absured demand

  2. sudarshan goala said

    these r just due to lack of information .it might be possible that no trainin is given to the officials.For the success of the act.the official must know the contens of the act.

    Another thing is bur…..
    mindset.it will also take time.NGO,s needs to play vital role for the awerness of the people.
    information must be given to public . afterall information r gatherwith publicmony. thanks s.goala

  3. Ramesh Agrawal said

    Seems the (DFO) Hoshiarpur has read and follwoing the “Chhattisgarh
    Right to Information (fees and charged) Rules, 2006” notified on 9th March 2006.
    Section 3(B)(ii)-For the information sought in question-answer form (for non- BPL people):
    “The cost of producing information by considering cost of human resources computer time and other resources or the cost of photocopying the records from which such information will be prepared shall be calculated.”

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