New Delhi: Army has refused to provide responses on RTI applications received through recently introduced government website that enables citizens to file them online, saying it is a security threat.
"We will provide information on RTI application only after receiving signed copy of the application...We have taken up issue with the DoPT," Army Central Public Information Officer Col Prashant Saxena said.
Saxena was replying to a query on an RTI application seeking details on controversial Technical Services Division through the recently introduced government portal -- rtionline.gov.in.
The RTI applicant had sought details from the Defence Ministry, which had transferred the application to the Army.
Saxena refused to supply information till a signed copy is received along with personal ID of the applicant which negates the website`s purpose of a hassle free processing of application, reducing paper work and increasing efficiency.
The government website rtionline.Gov.In allows citizens to file their RTI applications online. Since the payments are made by the applicant through Internet banking, credit card and debit card, it has a database of the person making a request. This also helps in checking the genuineness of the applicant and avoid impersonation.
The web site also allows RTI applicant to have password secured account where they can see replies and also get them on their email accounts so that no third person receives the information.
The Army, however, does not agree with this system saying it is a security issue as any one can make an email-id and seek information. It wants applicant to attach a personal ID card as well as signed copy of the application.
Anyone can make an email id and seek information. We need a signed copy of the RTI application so that persons identity can be established. It is a requirement under law, Saxena said when asked why Army needs a signed copy through postal mail when government in a considered decision has allowed citizens to file RTI applications through website.
When asked how would Army confirm the genuineness of a person who signs an RTI application as anybody can purchase a postal order and send it, Saxena had no answers.
The Army had recently denied information on killing of soldiers on LoC, a record which is already in public domain through statements made by Defence Ministry in Parliament.