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Atul Patankar

Earn your RTI: PU seeks Rs 12 lakh for reply

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Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 1 November 2009

 

CHANDIGARH: When it comes to asking a question under Right to Information Act, be careful about what you wish to know, as you might just get the

answer. A Panjab University LLM student, Varun Malik, who sought detailed replies for 19 queries including one regarding fines that hostellers had to pay over the past five years, has been asked to provide Rs 12.22 lakh as fees, because the varsity’s answers will need more than six lakh pages. Rs 2 per page is the charge that the questioner has to pay under the RTI Act.

 

Malik alleged that the university’s move was intended to discourage him from seeking information that could cause various scams to surface. “It’s surprising that it would take so many pages to provide me the details,” he added.

 

PU has sent two reminders to him for the payment and it has been mentioned in the letters that photocopying of the pages is almost complete. The university has also advised him to avoid using unparliamentary and threatening language while talking to its officials. Malik had asked the 19 questions on August 10 and replies were provided on September 9. However, not satisfied with the answers, he sought comprehensive information regarding all the questions.

 

In one of their letters, PU authorities told Malik that as the kind of details sought by him could only be provided through photocopies of the relevant documents and for that, he would have to pay the requisite amount. Malik said he consented to paying Rs 2 per page for extra information at the time. However, he added that he was not told about the replies stretching into six lakh pages.

 

He added that PU was pressuring him for the money and threatening him that they would have to take action for recovering the amount from him.

 

Source: Earn your RTI: PU seeks Rs 12 lakh for reply - Chandigarh - City - The Times of India

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ganpat1956

That is why in our forum we always advise applicants to opt for inspection of records first, so that they can have an idea of the volume and content of the documents.

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rajyadav017
As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 1 November 2009

 

CHANDIGARH: When it comes to asking a question under Right to Information Act, be careful about what you wish to know, as you might just get the

answer. A Panjab University LLM student, Varun Malik, who sought detailed replies for 19 queries including one regarding fines that hostellers had to pay over the past five years, has been asked to provide Rs 12.22 lakh as fees, because the varsity’s answers will need more than six lakh pages. Rs 2 per page is the charge that the questioner has to pay under the RTI Act.

 

Malik alleged that the university’s move was intended to discourage him from seeking information that could cause various scams to surface. “It’s surprising that it would take so many pages to provide me the details,” he added.

 

PU has sent two reminders to him for the payment and it has been mentioned in the letters that photocopying of the pages is almost complete. The university has also advised him to avoid using unparliamentary and threatening language while talking to its officials. Malik had asked the 19 questions on August 10 and replies were provided on September 9. However, not satisfied with the answers, he sought comprehensive information regarding all the questions.

 

In one of their letters, PU authorities told Malik that as the kind of details sought by him could only be provided through photocopies of the relevant documents and for that, he would have to pay the requisite amount. Malik said he consented to paying Rs 2 per page for extra information at the time. However, he added that he was not told about the replies stretching into six lakh pages.

 

He added that PU was pressuring him for the money and threatening him that they would have to take action for recovering the amount from him.

 

Source: Earn your RTI: PU seeks Rs 12 lakh for reply - Chandigarh - City - The Times of India

 

Dear Sir

 

this is RTI at least u are able to take out their attitude . hats of to u.:confused:

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suri_n01

The other day I read a news item about a gentleman being asked to pay an amount of Rupees Twelve lakh or so by a govt. department for providing info under the act. The preposterous amount demanded was for photo copy charges of the reply.

Is this a joke or was it meant in all seriosness and the reply really ran into some 600000 pages as suggested in the news item. To me it appears as if the department is trying to make the RTI applicant backoff and also to send a message to future applicants to think twice before invoking the act. The other question is who is to decide on the correct photocopy charges. Any roadside photocopy vendor will ofer to do it for Ten paisa or less if the work involves 600000 lakh pages as claimed.

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jimmorrison

I don't have exact information. Only hearsay, apparently the applicant was informed that 6 lac pages have been photocopied already and they are waiting for him to pay the fees.

 

I never knew our universities were so rich that they could without hesitation copy the 6 lac pages.

 

The applicant ought have been careful, he can make another application and ask for the data to be given to him elctronically instead on paper. 6 lac pages can be compressed in one DVD. and that will result about 60 rs fee.

 

And yes they are making a mockery of it.

 

 

 

 

The other day I read a news item about a gentleman being asked to pay an amount of Rupees Twelve lakh or so by a govt. department for providing info under the act. The preposterous amount demanded was for photo copy charges of the reply.

Is this a joke or was it meant in all seriosness and the reply really ran into some 600000 pages as suggested in the news item. To me it appears as if the department is trying to make the RTI applicant backoff and also to send a message to future applicants to think twice before invoking the act. The other question is who is to decide on the correct photocopy charges. Any roadside photocopy vendor will ofer to do it for Ten paisa or less if the work involves 600000 lakh pages as claimed.

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Pradip Shah

I am not very sure about information asked for, but RTI Act is some time abused for asking unreasonable information by applicants. Hence bad publicity of the Act.

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jps50

This appears to be a case of frivolous use of RTI. Application for 600000 pages of information is by no means a reasonable and genuine application. At Rs.2/- per page prescribed in RTI rules, PIO is justified in demanding Rs1200000/-

If the information is not held electronically, PIO can not be requested to convert hard copies into soft copies.

 

I learnt that some persons in Maharashtra under BPL seek useless information running into hundred of pages, and when they get it free, they sell the same as raddi !!!

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karira

As reported by Amit Sharma of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 06 November 2009:

PU serves third reminder for money to RTI applicant - Chandigarh - City - The Times of India

 

PU serves third reminder for money to RTI applicant

 

CHANDIGARH: Panjab University served a third reminder to the student who had sought information under the RTI Act to some 19 queries to deposit around Rs 12 lakh at the earliest, failing which, it said, legal action would be taken against him.

 

Applicant Varun Malik, an LLM student of the university, had received another reminder on Wednesday, asking him to deposit the amount for more than 6 lakh pages, the cost of xeroxing being Rs 2 per page. “In the two reminders served to me, university authorities claimed that photocopying was under process, however the recent one claims that more than 6 lakh pages have been photostated already,” said Varun, adding, “Officials said they can’t show documents unless he came with a receipt of the amount to be deposited. These are tactics being played by the university to discourage me from seeking information.”

 

Varun had sought information under RTI to over 19 questions on August 10, the reply to which was provided to September 9. But dissatisfied with the provided information, the student filed another application, seeking detailed reports to all questions. “Initially, university authorities told me that I’d have to pay Rs 2 per page but they did not mention how many pages their response would run into. Later, through a letter, they asked me to cough up Rs 12,22378 lakh,” rued Varun.

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psuhas

The method used by PU is likely to be used by many others to make a mockery of the RTI Act.

For minimizing this kind of responses,

Firstly, the questions have to be carefully framed.

Secondly,the person seeking information should give a format in which it is required by him. Seeking information in tabular format can drastically reduce the number of pages.

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Atul Patankar
This appears to be a case of frivolous use of RTI.

 

Application for 600000 pages of information is by no means a reasonable and

I learnt that some persons in Maharashtra under BPL seek useless information running into hundred of pages, and when they get it free, they sell the same as raddi !!!

 

The BPL case is reported here.

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whackpack

it does seem like frivolous use of RTI.

 

if the applicant was being victimized / if there was a possibility that un-related info is being passed on to him to detest him from seeking info, the applicant has many means available with him. besides, the way university is 'leaking' info of giving reminders to the applicant to the media, it seems unlikely they can take the flak if it is proven that they were harassing the applicant.

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Pradip Shah

Being educated student, Mr.Mayur should have inquired-assessed how much information asked for is going to cost him.

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snkmoorthy

a law must be taken with its benefits and also its mandates. those who seek the benefits of the law must be mindful of its mandates. RTI act says rs.2 per page for photocopy and those who ask for voluminous information should be ready to pay it. there is no point in hollering about the fee and trying to malign the PIO who is merely doing his job. as a PIO i have come across many applications seeking enormous information which imposes a lot of work on the clerical staff.

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karira

As reported by Amit Sharma of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 06 November 2009:

PU serves third reminder for money to RTI applicant - Ludhiana - City - The Times of India

 

PU serves third reminder for money to RTI applicant

 

CHANDIGARH: Panjab University served a third reminder to the student who had sought information under the RTI Act to some 19 queries to deposit

around Rs 12 lakh at the earliest, failing which, it said, legal action would be taken against him.

 

Applicant Varun Malik, an LLM student of the university, had received another reminder on Wednesday, asking him to deposit the amount for more than 6 lakh pages, the cost of xeroxing being Rs 2 per page. “In the two reminders served to me, university authorities claimed that photocopying was under process, however the recent one claims that more than 6 lakh pages have been photostated already,” said Varun, “officials said they can’t show documents unless he came with a receipt of the amount to be deposited. These are tactics being played by the university to discourage me from seeking information.”

 

Varun had sought information under RTI to over 19 questions on August 10, reply to which was provided to September 9. Dissatisfied with the provided information, the student filed another application, seeking detailed reports to questions. “Initially, university authorities told me that I’d have to pay Rs 2 per page but they did not mention how many pages their response would run into. Later, through a letter, they asked me to cough up Rs 12,22378 lakh,” rued Varun.

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karira

As reported by TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 07 November 2009:

PU serves final reminder on RTI applicant - Chandigarh - City - The Times of India

PU serves final reminder on RTI applicant

 

CHANDIGARH: Panjab University served a final reminder on the law student who had asked 19 questions under the RTI Act, asking him to furnish Rs

12.22 lakh for documents that varsity claims to have photocopied at Rs 2 per page. This is the fourth reminder served on the applicant in less than 10 days.

 

Varun Malik, a LLM student, had sought information on 19 questions. Not satisfied with the information provided by the university, he had filed another application, seeking detailed report on all questions. On this, the university had asked him to pay for the detailed report, which, according to authorities, runs into more than six lakh pages.

 

Varun said the first reminder was served on October 28, the second on October 30, third on October 31 and the final on November 5.

 

In the last reminder, the authorities have asked him ‘to lift the documents after paying Rs 12,22,378, failing which legal recourse will be initiated against him.’

 

However, the university has repeatedly turned down his request of showing him over six lakh pages photocopied by them. “If the university cannot show me the documents, the media should be allowed to see these,” said Varun.

 

Varun alleged that the university has not maintained a record of the information sought under the RTI Act, because of which they were using different tactics to discourage him.

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