Via Arjun Sheoran’s Facebook profile:
As you may be aware, I had filed a PIL titled “Arjun Sheoran v High Court of Punjab and Haryana” in 2013 (CWP 3265 of 2013), challenging the High Court of Punjab and Haryana RTI Rules 2007, as well as the applicable rules for the subordinate courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, arguing that the HC RTI Rules are against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act, 2005.
The Hon’ble Court had treated it as a representation before the Rules Committee of the High Court and I had filed further supplementary representation, in order to assist the Rules Committee.
With great pleasure I must inform you that the High Court RTI Rules, 2007 have been changed/amended/modified, as per the prayer in the writ petition, to make the Rules citizen friendly, and as per the RTI Act.
The amended Rules were just uploaded on the HC website so I am sharing it with you, along with the old Rules as well as the changes I had suggested and the writ petition that had been filed.
The positive changes brought forth in the Rules, after the petition above-mentioned include:
1. Fees can now be paid in cash, which was not allowed earlier.
2. Application can now be submitted on plain paper, and cannot be rejected on the ground that it was not made in Form A.
3. The RTI application can be made on any working day, during working hours, instead of the earlier rules where RTI applications were accepted only 2 hours in a day (11 am to 1 pm)
4. Earlier, if a matter did not fall into his/her jurisdiction, the PIO could return the RTI application to the applicant, and the fees paid was to be forfeited. That provision, being illegal, has been done away with, and now the PIO will be duty bound to forward the application as well as the fees to the appropriate public authority within 5 days.
5. The application fees, as suggested, has been reduced from Rs 50 per application to Rs 10 per application.
6. The per page cost of the information has been reduced from Rs. 5 per page to Rs. 2 per page.
7. Information CD will now cost Rs 25 per CD instead of Rs 100 per CD.
8. Information regarding tenders/bids/quotation will be given at Rs. 100 per application, instead of Rs. 500 as was earlier applicable.
9. The Rs 100 fee for first appeal has also been removed, as suggested.
This is a small victory, which took a year and a half of efforts, in our journey to actualize the right to information in India, and I am sharing this information with you, so that it can be useful in your states too.
I also thank those friends and comrades who helped with the entire process! Neha Sonawane, Harii Ish, Rahul Sharma, Preet Inder Singh, Lawyers for Change Fellowships!
I hope we will work together for more such people-oriented successes!
LATEST RTI RULES are HERE.
OLD RTI RULES are HERE.
SUGGESTED CHANGES are HERE.
THE WRIT PETITION is HERE.
The SUPPLEMENTARY REPRESENTATION BEFORE THE HIGH COURT RULES COMMITTEE is HERE.