Govt puts 500 word limit on RTI pleas

Govt puts 500 word limit on RTI pleas

Despite opposition from civil rights activists, the government has put a word limit of 500 words for filing an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

An application “shall be accompanied by a fee of Rs 10 and shall ordinarily not contain more than 500 words, excluding annexures, containing address of the Central Public Information Officer and that of the applicant,” the new rules said.

Earlier, there was no word limit for seeking information. The rules, however, said “no application shall be rejected on the ground that it contains more than 500 words.”

Apart from this, a new format has been devised for filing an appeal to the Central Information Commission (CIC) under the transparency law.

The government has also made it mandatory for an appellant or his authorised representative to appear before the CIC either in person or through video-conferencing, according to new rules.
According to a notification by the Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, an applicant will have to pay additional postal charges “involved in supply of information that exceeds Rs 50.”

The appeal filed by an aggrieved person has to be accompanied with a copy of the application submitted to the Central Public Information Officer, a copy of reply received, if any, from the CPIO, a copy of the appeal made to the First Appellate Authority, a copy of the order received, if any, from the FAA, copies of other documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in his appeal and an index of documents referred to in the appeal.

“An appeal may be returned to the appellant, if it is not accompanied by the documents as specified,” the rules said. The transparency watchdog can dismiss an appeal after hearing the appellant or recording its reason in case it is not satisfied that it is a fit case to proceed with.

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