In two different cases, the Information Commissioners Shri R K Jain and Shri Raghubir Singh have made a common recommendation to the Department of Personnel and Training for implementing postal stamps as a mode of payment of RTI fee thus reducing hassles of applicants. If this recommendation is accepted by the Centre, then people seeking information under RTI Act may now be able to use postal stamps as application fee.
Right to Information Act mandate every applicant to pay a fee of Rs. 10/- (Rupees Ten Only) along with RTI Application either in cash, if the applicant files the application in person or in bank demand draft (DD) or Indian Postal Order in case the application is filed by Post.
It was observed by the Commission that, some authorities like Army and Indian air force refuse to accept applications drawn in favour of Accounts Officer despite clear directives of the Department of Personnel and Training causing hassles to applicants.
Commission finds merit in the appellant’s submissions that, the postal department’s recommendation for use of ordinary postal stamps for payment of RTI fee is both practical and user friendly and would urge the Department of Personnel and Training to consider this at the earliest. It was further observed by the Commission that, Government of Tamil Nadu has already allowed payment of RTI fee by affixing court fee stamps.
In this regard, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu also issued an exhaustive order on the issue recommending to Department of Personnel and Training to avail the opportunity of giving New Year Gift to the citizens by permitting and publicising the use of ordinary postal stamps for the payment of RTI fee. Commissioner further opined that, “accepting postal stamps for RTI fee would resolve many difficulties in payment, besides preventing wastage of public money in returning or rejecting the IPOs or spending much larger amounts than Rs 10/- (Rupees Ten Only), for realising Rs 10/- (Rupees Ten Only), and avoidable litigation.”