Supreme Court ruled that RTI fee no more than Rs 50. The SC bench said that public authorities cannot ask for more than Rs 5 for each page for photocopying charge, & motive need not to be disclosed while filing out the form.

A bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said public authorities cannot ask for more than Rs 5 for each page as photocopying charge, and an applicant need not mention the “motive” while filling out the application form.

The order is a relief for RTI activists because prohibitive costs was a deterrent and discouraged the public from filing applications under the 2005 legislation meant to promote transparency and accountability in government offices and the way they function.

As regards the objection that under Section 6(3) of the Act, the public authority has to transfer the application to another public authority if information is not available, the said provision should also normally be complied with except where the public authority dealing with the application is not aware as to which other authority will be the appropriate authority.

As regards Rules 25 to 27 of the Allahabad High Court Rules which debar giving of information with regard to the matters pending adjudication, it is clarified that the same may be read consistent with Section 8 of the Act, more particularly sub-section (1) in Clause (J) thereof.

The top court disposed of a batch of petitions filed in 2011 that challenged RTI rules of several high courts and authorities such as the Chhattisgarh assembly, which had imposed excessive fees for application and photocopying.

-Indian Legal Solutions