Difficulties in filing online RTI application
The CBDT conveyed to the CIC that the online application filed by the Complainant had not been attended to properly by the then PIO and that it was admitted that on receipt of the notice for hearing before the CIC, they learnt about the lapses on their part. The First Appeal that was filed online had also not been attended to about which the Respondent feigned ignorance. The CIC expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. With regards to the imposition of penalty u/s 20(1) of the RTI, Act it was stated that the RTI Application was received on the portal, which may not have been accessible to the then CPIO for reasons better known to him. After taking over the charge, the current CPIO had obtained the user ID and password to operationalize the access to the online applications. Penalty was not imposed and the CIC cautioned the PIO to exercise due care in future to ensure that information is furnished timely to the RTI applicant.
Online filing of RTI Applications was launched with the expectations that it would make the process easy and convenient. In this case, the Respondent admitted that there were a large number of issues in handling the online RTI applications due to technical problems and unskilled manpower. It appears that the whole system of online filing of RTI Applications needs a review.
Citation: Mr. Shiv Kirti Singh v. CPIO M/o. Finance in Complaint No. CIC/BS/C/2015/000189-BJ, Dept. of Revenue CBDT, Date of Decision: 17.04.2017, 29.11.2018
Dr. Anuradha Verma (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the co-author of the books: RIGHT TO INFORMATION – LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/