A factually incorrect
and misleading news report appeared in a section of the media that a new
set of RTI Rules have been formulated which creates difficulties and
hurdles in the right of the citizens to get information from the
Government. It has been alleged that the size of the RTI has been
restricted to 500 words and a provision of fees has been unfairly
introduced in the Rules.
The facts are totally to the contrary. On 31st July, 2012, the Central
Government notified the RTI Rules under Section 27 of the Right to
Information Act, 2005. A copy of existing rules is available on the
official website of DOPT. The Rules provided that an RTI application
will ordinarily be not more than 500 words (subject to exception) with a
nominal fee being charged from each applicant. These Rules were framed
and notified in 2012.
However, legality of the CIC (Management) regulations of 2007 was
challenged before the Delhi High Court and these were quashed. The
matter has been pending before the Supreme Court. The Government
therefore decided, in consultation with the CIC, that a comprehensive
set of rules be notified by consolidating the key provisions of CIC
(Management) Regulations and also the Rules of 2012. Same has been put
up in public domain for comments.
The key provisions of the RTI Rules, 2012 have been identically
incorporated verbatim. No change has been made in the RTI fee structure.
The Government is committed to ensuring a full and easy implementation
of the Right to Information.
The factual position on the proposed Rules is as follows:
1. The existing RTI Rules 2012 notified on 31st July, 2012 specifically
provide in section 3 that an application shall ordinarily not contain
more than 500 words excluding annexure. It further provides that no
application shall be rejected only on the grounds that it contains more
than 500 words. There is no change proposed in these provisions in the
2. The provision with respect to charging rates is identical to that
contained in existing RTI Rules 2012 which provides for charging rates
as per price fixed for a publication or Rs.2 per page of photocopy for
extracts from the publication. There is a further provision in rule 5
that no fee under rule 3 and rule 4 shall be charged from any person who
is below poverty line. This provision has been retained as such in the
new proposed rules. Therefore, there is no change in fee and the
existing rules have been proposed to be continued.
3. There is no change in the postal charges for sending the information.
4. The proposed rules do not limit the filing of either complaint or
appeal “online” only. Both rule 8 and rule 13 dealing with filing of
appeals and complaints especially provide for filing offline as well as
5. The provision for withdrawal of appeal, which was earlier included in
the Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2007 has
been included in the new rules. Similarly, the provision for abatement
of appeals/complaints on the death of the applicant/ complainant, which
was earlier included in the Central Information Commission (Management)
Regulations 2007, has also been included.
6. With regards to the provision of officials being allowed to file
documents to counter claims of false information, it is clarified that
at present, as per the procedure of CIC, once appeal is taken cognizance
of, the CPIOs are given a notice to furnish their submission before the
appeal is decided. This was also part of the Central Information
Commission (Management) Regulations 2007 which are now being
incorporated in the rules. Therefore, the existing standard operating
procedure has been proposed to be incorporated in the rules.
As can be seen from above, the allegation that there is a move to dilute
the provisions of RTI is unfounded. The proposed amendments to the rules
are in public domain for comments by April 15, 2017 and will be
finalised keeping in view the public feedback received in the matter.
The comments can be sent both online and in hard copy to the Department.