Only fee stipulated in RTI Act can be levied: SIC

Fee fixed by government is illegal

The State Information Commission (SIC) has ordered that levying access fee fixed by the government or various departments from applicants seeking information under the Right to Information Act is against law.

SIC member K.L. Vivekanandan directed that the fee to be levied from the applicant should be those stipulated in the RTI Act. The Central Information Commission and the High Court had made this matter clear, he added. Fee for access that could be legally levied from the applicant is maximum ₹2 per A4 size copy and ₹5 per A3 copy. He said that the full commission of the SIC had taken a decision on this and informed the Public Administration Department and the Chief Secretary.

He said this while hearing on an appeal against the reply from the Vadakara Taluk Office that ₹531 be remitted for a copy of a survey sketch.

Mr. Vivekanandan also said that the SIC had decided to summon secretaries of all municipal corporations in the State.

He said that it had been brought to the commission’s notice that corporation officials were showing reluctance to provide information in response to applications under the RTI Act relating to their engineering wings. In most cases, the applicants were given replies saying that information sought is not available despite searches. Such complaints were also raised about many grama panchayats, he added.

On the second day of his two-day sitting on Thursday, the SIC member disposed 19 appeals. Disposal of one case was postponed because of the absence of the appellant.

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