SC issues notice to Centre, states over online RTI portal
IANS 26 August 2019
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and state governments on a petition seeking to establish a Right to Information (RTI) portal to enable people to file online applications for information from any department.
 
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana issued the order while hearing the plea filed by NGO Pravasi Legal Cell through lawyer Jose Abraham.
 
The NGO, which seeks to empower migrant people including Non Resident Indians (NRIs) on the legal front, sought a direction to all state governments to provide the online RTI portal facility to obtain information through the electronic mode.
 
Describing the RTI Act as a powerful tool, advocate Abraham said the true objective of the legislation can be achieved only by timely response to citizens' request for government information when the process was made online.
 
"One of the most effective provision in the RTI Act is section 7(1) which states that 'information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within 48 hours of the receipt of the request' is not effective under the existing system and it severely affects the life and liberty of citizens," the petition said.
 
The petitioner told the court that the Central government established an online RTI portal for any Indian citizen including NRIs to seek information under the RTI Act with the desired ministry or department.
 
The applicant can also pay the fee online and submit the RTI application.
 
The Central government then directed the state governments in December 2013 to explore the feasibility of implementing online RTIs in their respective states.
 
The Centre told the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to provide technical support such as software and source code to the state governments which desire to replicate the web portal for online filing of RTI applications.
 
The petitioner said that only Maharashtra and Delhi had set up online portals.
 
The lawyer said that a person seeking information now has to make a physical application.
 
Also, the applicant will have to obtain a postal order by visiting the post office and paying the fee for such an application.
 
Then the application is sent to the concerned department.
 
"It is also difficult for Non-Resident Indians (NRI) desirous of obtaining information from any department of the state governments at present since they have to undergo physical application process," the petitioner said.
 
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Comments
Rakesh Modi
3 years ago
Even the Maharashtra government has made a mocker of RTI. As after not getting any replies for my complaints I had to apply RTI to various Government departments such as MahaRERA, BMC, SRA & now even CMO, the highest office of Maharashtra, but even in that reply they pass on the buck to someone else by giving a reply as "Your complaint as has been forwarded to ..so & so dept., you will have to followup there" & even after applying 1st Appeal .., same reply in the hearing..., When other depts., says like that, we approach CMO office but if Chief minister office also says same thing, where we should go - is it then PM? Had approached PMO also but from there also the reply came as "its a State govt affair, please approach State Government". Maybe I m not offering them anything, that's why they are makig me going round & round since 4 years...
Pathetic & Corrupt Maharashtra government & BMC!!! ---Rakesh Modi-9819993972
Meenal Mamdani
3 years ago
An excellent idea.
Many of us though living abroad are deeply concerned about India. When we notice irregularities that are uncovered by investigative journalists, we have no way to follow it up as we cannot physically go to the post office.
I think that this requirement has been deliberately inserted by the babus to discourage individuals from filing RTI requests.
US gov has a website that allows any one to file a request electronically and receive a reply electronically or by mail.
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