SC Seeks Govt Reply On Plea For Online RTI Portals

SC Seeks Govt Reply On Plea For Online RTI Portals

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice N V Ramana on Monday asked the Centre and States to file their reply in two weeks on a Public Interest Petition (PIL) with a prayer that they should be directed to have web portals to file online RTI applications.

Justice Ramana said " the reply to be filed in two weeks and the rejoinder (to be filed by the petitioner) in two weeks thereafter. There will be no further adjournment."

The matter now is to be listed after four weeks.

Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde informed the court that so far only 10 states out of 26 have filed their vakalatnama but no affidavit has been filed so far.

Hegde said the states who filed vakalatnama are Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Karnataka, UP, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamilnadu, and Gujarat.

The bench, also comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, was hearing the PIL filed by NGO Pravasi Legal Cell through Advocate Jose Abraham.

According to the plea, the RTI Act is a Central Act was for all the citizens residing in India and also outside the country. The Indians who live outside the country and want information from different state governments have no means to apply online for information.

At present, only states - Delhi and Maharashtra have the online filing facilities of RTI applications.

The NRIs have to file physically the applications for any information they required from governments, the plea also said.

The NGO says "Right to Information Act provides a legal mechanism to enforce and implement the citizen's right to information guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The present system of submitting RTI applications and the corresponding reply from the concerned information officer in physical form take more time which in turn reduces the efficiency of the entire RTI mechanism thus defeating the very purpose of the legislation."