State information commissioner, Ramesh Kariya, slapped a fine of Rs5000 on a citizen for asking 34 questions under the Right to Information Act (RTI). This is the first such incident in the history of the Gujarat information commission (GIC).
Under the present RTI Act, which was implemented in 2010, the person seeking information must pay Rs20 while submitting the application and Rs2 per page. But this is what is usually considered a nominal amount and just an administrative charge. as such, the Act does not mention any penalty for the number of questions submitted.
The applicant has said that he needed information on series of bonds worth several lakhs of rupees that were being sold by the district registrar of co-operatives. Since these were different bonds, he had to apply for RTI separately.
On the other hand, Kariya has accused the applicant of asking questions without any reason and delaying the process of the sale of the bonds.
Meanwhile, several activists have refuted Kariya’s claims and criticized his action. They believe that this one action would be like giving permission for future fines and penalties when the RTI Act itself does not have any such provisions. They believe that Kariya’s actions must be challenged.