Ansari wants penalties for filing frivolous RTI applications

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 22:53

New Delhi: Backing the Government`s proposal
on curbing "frivolous and vexatious" RTI applications, one of
the Information Commissioners at the Central Information
Commission, M M Ansari, on Tuesday advocated for powers to the
transparency panel to impose costs on such applicants.
In his papers submitted during the first foundation day
lecture of CIC here, Ansari said,"the cost to the government
in servicing an RTI application varies between Rs 10 to Rs
30,000, the ultimate burden of which is borne by the tax
payer."

"Even though the net benefit of the use of the
information laws may be higher than the cost to the society,
there is need to discourage frivolous and vexatious
applications.

"Suitable provisions for awarding costs -- similar to the
one enjoyed by courts and the proposed provision in
Whistleblower Act should be considered so as to minimise
misuse the provisions of the RTI Act by disgruntled elements,"
said Ansari.

Government had mooted the proposal to make amendments in
the RTI Act to curb vexatious and frivolous applications but
during a meeting of all Information Commissioners from across
the country last year, this proposal was strongly opposed.
A huge majority of Information Commissioners were
against making such changes in the Act which reportedly forced
the government to rethink on it, one of the Information
Commissioners at the CIC said.

"Only very little percentage of applications can be
categorised under the such category. Even the bureaucracy
feels that their work does not suffer because of these
applications. Then where is the need for punishing RTI
applicants," he said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 22:53

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