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karira posted a topic in RTI in MediaAs 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'.
As reported by Faizan Ahmad at timesofindia.indiatimes.com 21 September 2009 PATNA: The petitions are piling up in the office of the State Information Commission (SIC) here. Reason: there are only two information commissioners (ICs) to take up the cases. The post of chief information commissioners (CIC) have been lying vacant for almost a year. The Patna High Court directed state government more than once to appoint the CIC and fill the vacant posts of ICs. Earlier, the state government had informed the court that it has appointed retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court J N Bhatt as CIC. But early this week when a PIL was taken up for hearing by the court, advocate general P K Shahi stated thatr Justice Bhatt had been appointed as CIC but now he has expressed his inability to accept the post. The office of CIC has been lying vacant after the retirement of Justice Shashank Shekhar Singh in September last year. Since then only two information commissioners P N Narayanan and Shakil Ahmad, both retired bureaucrats, are in the office. Bihar Right to Information Manch convenor Parveen Amanullah said the government kept the court in the dark about Justice Bhatt for several months though he had declined the offer long back. She said Bihar never had more than three information commissioners. "The government is not serious and does not intend to provide correct information to seekers hence it is not appointing information commissioners," she alleged. About 24,000 cases have been filed with the SIC and over 14,000 are still pending. The situation is quite ironic. Bihar was once regarded as a model for implementing RTI Act and introducing "Jankari" call centre for the benefit of the people seeking information. It also received gold award from the Union ministry of personnel for the Jankari call centre under which people can seek information. Jankari, a brainchild of chief minister Nitish Kumar, aimed to enable people living in remotest corners of the state to submit applications for information under RTI by dialling 155311. The operator receiving the call would draft the application under the RTI Act and send the same to the authorities concerned for providing the requisite information. The applicant is provided with a reference number of the application by the call centre. And in case the information is not provided by the authorities, the applicant is entitled to file the first appeal to the appellate authority and later the second appeal to the State Information Commission. But Shiv Prakash Rai, an RTI activist, said the Jankari was not a successful experiment. "The applicants who phone say something and the operator notes something else. Also, the applicants are not provided any Jankari by the call centre, who charge for the calls," he said and added people are least interested in that mode of filing cases. Source: 24000 cases, only 2 info commissioners - Patna - City - NEWS - The Times of India