The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the fee for filing applications under the Right to Information Act would be maximum Rs 50 and photocopying charges will be Rs 5 per page.
The top court order would be applicable to all institutions, including high courts, legislative assemblies and other government and autonomous bodies that come within the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
A bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit passed the order on a batch of petitions challenging the RTI Rules of various high courts and other authorities including the Chhattisgarh Assembly which had imposed excessive fees for RTI application and photocopying.
The court was approached by NGO Common Cause which had contended that levying of the excessive fee was to disincentivise the general public from seeking information under the RTI.
In 2011, the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha had increased RTI application fee to Rs 500 and reduced it to Rs 300 in December 2016, which was still excessive, counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the NGO Common Cause, said.
Under the Central government rules, the fee for making application to seek information under RTI is just Rs 10 and Rs two for getting the photocopy of the documents submitted by the government or its institutions and other bodies.