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RTI: Delhi police demand 'extra' money for information
March 26, 2008 11:10 IST
The Right to Information Act might be hailed as people's power in democracy, but data under it may not come for free for an NGO that wanted information on missing children.
'Nav Shristi' -- an NGO working for women and child rights -- was shocked when two police stations in the capital demanded Rs 12,274 each for disclosing information on missing and kidnapped children in Delhi under the RTI.
"We were prompted to file an FIR after coming across complaints from poor people that police was not taking their cases seriously," director of the NGO Reena Banerjee said.
But it were the monetary charges listed by the police that rattled the social worker more.
According to the reply to the RTI application, "One sub-inspector at Rs 773 per day for one day, one head constable at Rs 451 per day for one day and 13 constables from police stations at Rs 425 per day for two days would be needed for the information to be gathered."
This amounted to a total of Rs 12,274 as mentioned in the letter from these two police stations.
The west Delhi and south-west Delhi police stations had given a break-up of the amount they wanted in order to deliver the services.
In all, 12 police stations were approached and these were the only two that cited any charges to be paid for the information.
Unhappy over the issue, Banerjee approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) in this regard.
"Why can't they give us the complete information. And if 10 of the 12 police posts could part with the information free of cost, then why not these two," Banerjee questioned.
As per the RTI rules, the applicant has to pay Rs 2 per page to get the information.
According to a CIC official, "The concerned officer can charge rates only as prescribed by the state government. It should be a reasonable amount."
However, he was clueless on the definition of "reasonable amount".
When contacted, south-west district DCP Shalini Singh said, "We know we have asked for a certain sum of money to do the job. What we have done is rightful under the laws of RTI."
RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said, "The RTI Act does not prescribe any such charges. The sub-inspector and the constable will work on a holiday or on a working day to retrieve such information and he is a paid servant.
"It is their job. They cannot ask for extra charges being government servants," he said.