A proposal for making rule changes under RTI Act i.e. RTI Rules, 2017 is now open for public scrutiny. Surprisingly, the RTI proposed changes bring back the most dreaded rule of closing a RTI application in case of death of applicant. So far, since birth of Right to Information, more than 300 incidences of RTI activists being attacked have been reported. Out of this, around 50 lost their lives. There is no doubt that this rule would further be a cause of concern for RTI activists since this may expose applicants further to risks in times to come. This proposal had also come during UPA-2 rule but couldn’t see the day of light due to adamant resistance by RTI activists and other quarters seeking transparency in system.
We discuss some of the key changes proposed to RTI act :
- Application fees to remain static at ten rupees. However, seeking documented information under RTI may invite fees of fifty rupees.
- RTI application to be dissolved/closed in case of death of appellant.
- Applicants below poverty line need to attach ID proof as well to ensure the free BPL applications are not misused.
- Appeal to commission can be done online. This benefit however will obviously be limited to applicants with access to internet.
The circular to this effect is available at this location. Last date for sending suggestions and concerns is 15th April. The suggestions shall be sent to the email id usrti-doptnic.in