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karira

Opposition slams proposal to hike RTI fees in Bihar

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karira

As reported by IANS in sify.com on 05 November 2009:

Opposition slams proposal to hike RTI fees in Bihar

 

Opposition slams proposal to hike RTI fees in Bihar

 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came in for criticism from opposition parties Wednesday for proposing a change in the fee structure of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, wherein a petitioner would have to pay Rs.10 per query instead of Rs.10 for any number of queries in his petition.

 

Nitish Kumar has proposed amendment to the RTI Act in Bihar and has proposed increasing the fees for seeking information through the RTI to Rs.10 per query.

 

Till now a petitioner could seek as many queries in his petition by paying Rs.10 only.

 

The opposition parties Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Congress and Left parties have criticised Nitish Kumar for proposing an change in the RTI rule in the state.

 

Opposition leaders alleged that Nitish Kumar was trying to dilute the RTI Act in Bihar to shield rampant corruption.

 

'It is a draconian amendment to discourage the common man from seeking information under the RTI Act,' RJD leader Ram KIrpal Yadav said.

 

Another RJD leader Shakeel Ahmad Khan said that proposed amendment will defeat the very purpose of the RTI Act which is to bring transparency and accountability in the functioning of government offices.

 

'A petitioner seeking 10 queries from a government body on a single application will have to pay Rs.100 in place of Rs.10,' Khan said.

 

Bihar state Congress chief Anil Kumar Sharma said the 'move is anti-people'.

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Ajit Borade

Recent decision of Nitish Kumar government is disastourus. There is no logic in support of this decision. In one stroke the Bihar goverment has killed so may years of struggle by right activists for the implementation of RTI act. This move should be opposed unanimously by all the sections of societ.

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Dr.S.ANANDKUMAR

Honb'le Chief Minister, Shri.NITISH KUMAR needs to know what is RTI Act much better and probably needs a brief training. Those behind him in pushing this move should be known to public and activists.

In fact, the inofrmation should be free from fees. Collecting Rs.2 per page is also costly when private xerox shops charge only Rs.1/- for best quality photocopying.

Remember, the Govt. of India is spending about Rs.40 crore on communication for Common Wealth Games. Why not communicate to people of India taking only the cost of photocopying documents?

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MOHANDAS

Apropos the subject matter regarding the proposal for hike in RTi Act application fee, it may be mentioned that the Hon'ble C.M might have proposed the hike in order to regulate the large number of RTI Applications on different subject matters in one application.

 

Since the RTI Act 2005 did not stipulate as to how many number of information can be sought in one application, created confusion in the minds of RTI Applicants and P.As and A.As also There should be some regulations in this regard. For e.g the Railway Reservation slip limits the number of heads in the formate of application itself. In a similar way, with a proper amendment in the RTI Act 2005, let the competent authority restrict the number of information to be sought in one application as 5 to 8 in a similar nature of subject. If the applicant wants to have some other information on certain diversified subjects, let him prefer another RTI application with seperate fees in its right perspective. Too many frivolous information on different subject matters in one application put the P.A in a sketchy situation and tends to reject the same on some or other pretext.

 

So in all fairness, the number of information may be limited to 5-8 and beyond that RTI applicants may kindly prefer seperate application depending upon the subject matters on which information are sought.

 

Let our senior members and Administrators (Respected Kariraji & Others) may deliberate on the subject in order to derive a conclusion.

 

Mohandas.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at thaindian.com on November 19th, 2009

 

Opposition parties and activists have slammed restrictions imposed on the Right to Information (RTI) Act by the Bihar government, saying the move is aimed at shielding corruption.

The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Congress and Left parties are up in arms against the changes. “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is hell bent on discouraging people from seeking information but we will expose him,” RJD leader Ram Kirpal Yadav said.

Congress state president Anil Kumar Sharma said the changes were anti-constitutional. “We will take this issue to the people,” he said.

Convenor of the Bihar Suchna Adhikar Manch Parveen Amanullah said the changes were in violation of the fundamental rights of people who were free to seek information from the government.

“The move is anti-people, it will serve the interests of government officials only,” said Rupesh, an RTI activist.

The Bihar government made changes to the RTI Act Tuesday under which a person cannot seek more than one information in one application. Now a petitioner will have to pay Rs.10 per query whereas earlier several queries could be put through in one petition by paying Rs.10.

Besides, the government has now decided to charge a Below Poverty Line category information seeker if information runs into more than 10 pages. But it will still be free if the number of pages is up to 10.

Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, personnel and administrative reforms department, said the state government has approved the Bihar Right to Information Act (Amendment) Rules, 2009 seeking minor alterations in the RTI Act 2005.

“The changes were made to make RTI more effective and prevent its misuse. They were as per central government guidelines,” he said.

Last week the state government launched a helpline for those seeking information under the RTI Act and said stern action would be taken against officials found guilty of harassing petitioners.

Official sources said that 42,000 of the 50,000 applications received under the RTI Act during 2007-08 have been disposed of.

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karira
Apropos the subject matter regarding the proposal for hike in RTi Act application fee, it may be mentioned that the Hon'ble C.M might have proposed the hike in order to regulate the large number of RTI Applications on different subject matters in one application.

 

Since the RTI Act 2005 did not stipulate as to how many number of information can be sought in one application, created confusion in the minds of RTI Applicants and P.As and A.As also There should be some regulations in this regard. For e.g the Railway Reservation slip limits the number of heads in the formate of application itself. In a similar way, with a proper amendment in the RTI Act 2005, let the competent authority restrict the number of information to be sought in one application as 5 to 8 in a similar nature of subject. If the applicant wants to have some other information on certain diversified subjects, let him prefer another RTI application with seperate fees in its right perspective. Too many frivolous information on different subject matters in one application put the P.A in a sketchy situation and tends to reject the same on some or other pretext.

 

So in all fairness, the number of information may be limited to 5-8 and beyond that RTI applicants may kindly prefer seperate application depending upon the subject matters on which information are sought.

 

Let our senior members and Administrators (Respected Kariraji & Others) may deliberate on the subject in order to derive a conclusion.

 

Mohandas.

 

It is a acknowledged fact that India has a "socialist" background.

We come from a background of "rationing" - till recently everything was rationed - probably because of economy of shortage. Times have changed, but the mentality of our leaders and public servants is still in the Sixties/Seventies/Eighties.

 

In case of RTI, we are talking about a fundamental right and not some kind of product or service. How many Indians will accept:

 

1. Only pray once a week and that too in the temple/mosque/chruch/etc. which someone else decides. Prayer/Bhajan should be limited to one line only.

2. Only speak 2 sentences in a day

 

BTW, will you accept if this portal says that your post should be limited to 10 words (or with some limit) ?

 

The preamble talks about Transparency, Accountability and reduction in Corruption. Can we put a limit to any of these ?

 

Many RTI activists supported the move (since implemented) in Karnataka to limit the RTI application to 150 words and one subject matter. Please read that order of the Karnataka Government - it has 279 words itself ! If the Government cannot express something in 150 words, how does it expect a citizen to question it in 150 words ?

 

The answer lies in Sec 4 of the RTI Act. If every PA follows Sec 4 of the Act, there will be few applications. But which PA seriously follows Sec 4 ?

 

One PA in AP has done something novel.

It has started India's first transparent office:

 

Menu

(Be careful, the website only works with Internet Explorer)

 

Now, how many RTI applications with how many queries in each will this office receive ?

I am sure not many.

 

Wouldn't it be better (and more people friendly) if the Bihar Government directed all its offices to become Transparent (like the example above), rather than bring in such amendments ?

 

=========

 

Sec 4(1)© states:

 

c. publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public;

 

Now, did the Bihar Government do that ?

 

You can decide for yourself as to how genuine that move is and the motivation behind such a amendment.

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jayeshbheda

In my view when the section 6 uses the phrase "shall make a request in writing", that it self makes it clear that one application is sufficient to obtain "any information".

 

Further, Section 7(5) provides

"....Provided that the fee prescribed under sub-section (1) of section 6 and sub-sections (1) and (5) of section 7 shall be reasonable...."

 

Therefore, the above provisions are provided in the parent Act, and cannot be overridden by making rules which are the creature of the Act itself.

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karira

As reported in news.calcuttatube.com on 21 November 2009:

Bihar activists to file lawsuit against changes in RTI act | CalcuttaTube News Service

 

Bihar activists to file lawsuit against changes in RTI act

 

Patna, Nov 21 (IANS) Right to Information (RTI) activists in Bihar have decided to challenge in court the changes made to it by the state government.

 

After opposition parties slammed the move to charge more for RTI applications, the activists have decided to challenge the government's decision in the Patna High Court.

 

'We will file a case in the court to challenge the changes to the RTI Act by the state government,' RTI activist Rupesh said Saturday.

 

Rupesh, associated with Suchna Adhikar Abhiyan, said RTI activists were forced to take legal course to fight against anti-people and undemocratic move of the Bihar government.

 

'We will also launch a signature campaign across the state to mobilise peoples' support and to stage a statewide dharna (sit-in) on Nov 30 followed to the RTI Act by thestate government,' Rupesh told IANS.

 

Bihar Suchna Adhikar Manch convenor Parveen Amanullah said the changes were in violation of the fundamental rights of people who were free to seekinformation from the government.

 

'It was an illegal move of the state government to make changes to the RTI,' she said.

 

She said the move will serve the interests of government officials only.

 

Opposition leaders described the move as aimed at shielding corruption. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Congress and Left parties are up in arms against the changes.

 

The Bihar government made changes to the RTI Act Tuesday under which a person cannot seek more than one piece of information in one application. Now a petitioner will have to pay Rs.10 per query whereas earlier several queries could be put through in one petition by paying Rs.10.

 

Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, personnel and administrative reforms department, said the state government has approved the Bihar Right to Information Act (Amendment) Rules, 2009, seeking minor alterations in the RTI Act 2005.

 

'The changes were made to make RTI more effective and prevent its misuse. They were as per central government guidelines,' he said.

 

Last week, the state government launched a helpline for those seeking information under the RTI Act and said stern action would be taken against officials found guilty of harassing petitioners.

 

Official sources said that 42,000 of the 50,000 applications received under the RTI Act during 2007-08 have been disposed of.

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karira

As reported by IANS in calcuttatube.com on 07 December 2009:

RTI activists protest Bihar amendments | CalcuttaTube News Service

 

RTI activists protest Bihar amendments

 

Patna, Dec 7 (IANS) Hundreds of Right to Information (RTI) activists staged a day-long sit-in here Monday to protest the amendments made in the RTI law by the Bihar government.

 

Rupesh, convenor of the Right to Information campaign, said the Bihar government should roll back the amendments. They also sought that the government should not levy charges on an appeal.

 

According to the amendments, a petitioner cannot seek more than one piece of information in one application and will have to pay Rs.10 per query. Earlier, several queries could be sought in one petition and for the same cost.

 

The activists have launched a signature campaign and plan a statewide protest against the move.

 

Officials defended the changes.

 

'The changes were made to make RTI more effective and prevent its misuse. They were as per central government guidelines,' said Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, personnel and administrative reforms.

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nukebomb

I think there should be limit on politicians also like follows

1) they should not be chairman of more than one committee

2)they should not be member of more than one institution

3) they shall not be allowed to ask more than one question in parliament

4)they shall not be allowed to oppose more than one policy of government

5) they shall not pass more than one bill in parliament in one tenure

6) they shall not stage dharna / walk out more than once on any issue in parliament.

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karira

Khan,

 

Please also add:

 

7) Have only one wife/husband !

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karira

As reported by TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 20 December 2009:

HC seeks info from govt on RTI PIL - Patna - City - The Times of India

 

HC seeks info from govt on RTI PIL

 

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit to a PIL that has challenged the validity of the amended provision of the Right to Information Act for realising fee at a concessional rate from the people below poverty line (BPL) for filing an RTI application.

 

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma issued the directive on a PIL of petitioner Chaitanya.

 

Petitioner's counsel Dinu Kumar submitted that the RTI Act did not provide for any fee from the BPL people. But the amended rule says that a BPL person seeking information under RTI would get a relaxation of Rs 10 for filing every application. The amendment brought in on November 19, 2009 is bad in law as this would discourage the poor from seeking information under the RTI Act, Kumar submitted.

 

While giving four weeks' time to the state government to file its counter affidavit, the court directed petitioner's counsel to delete the personal allegation levelled in the PIL against chief information commissioner Ashok Kumar Chaudhary.

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rajub

I think the news has not correctly represented the facts.

 

It says the RTI Act will be amended. How is it possible? RTI Act is a central act it cannot be amended by a state govt.

 

I guess the state govt. is planning to amend the RTI Rules.

 

Section 27 gives the state govt. power to make such rules. But there is a caveat. section 27(1) states "The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act".

 

Thus, the Govt. has no powers to make rules for anything whcih is not provided by the Act.

 

Since the Act does not provide for the limitation on the no. of queries in one application the rules cannot be made on this aspect.

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rahul anand

In my personal view, this amendment is done to the R.T.I. Act by Honorable Chief Minister only for the purpose of making it difficult for the citizens to acquire the information they seek. The poor will find it too expensive to pay Rs. 100 for asking ten(10) queries in their application, which our government is well aware of. By this amendment, they have reduced half the amount of complaints and application which they would actually receive, thereby snatching away their rights and helping corruption grow under their nose just as they have amended the I.T. Act (2008 Amendment) making almost all the cyber crimes bailable in India.

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Dr.S.ANANDKUMAR

Any one knows what is the current status, as of June 2011, regarding the Bihar Government's proposed amendment to RTI rules hiking the RTI Fee?

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abhinavjain34

we must understand Bihar is in the forefront by providing information as per RTI act. It is the first and the only state to start Online filling of RTI in state and also RTi can be filed through Phone.

In other states when we file RTI application you type it on computer and take print out. cost rs 10. Send it through speed post: Rs 40. Go to the post office. Petrol Price : Rs 50. Also you know application number or know if it has reached the right place.

In any case you donot ask for 5-6 information in RTI application. I think this step of Bihar Govt is good.

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