The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Allahabad High Court Registry’s response on a PIL challenging the provisions of RTI rules framed by it for divulging information to the public as being unconstitutional and ultra-vires of the 2005 transparency law.
A bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar issued a notice to the registry on the plea of NGO, Common Cause, which has sought the quashing of Rules 3, 4, 5, 20, 25, 26, 27 of the Allahabad High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2006.
The petitioner NGO has also sought directions to the high court of Allahabad and the subordinate courts within its jurisdiction to follow the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules 2006 framed by the central government.
Appearing for Common Cause, advocate Prashant Bhushan said the rules framed by the high court on its administrative side not only “have the effect of abridging and infringing the right to information” but also “violate Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution”.
Initially, the court had asked the petitioner to approach the high court on the judicial side but after the counsel pointed out that similar rules of the Delhi High Court was also under challenge, the bench agreed to issue the notice.
In its petition, the NGO has said the Allahabad High Court’s RTI Rules, 2006, framed for processing RTI applications, deviate from the letter and spirit of the transparency law.
It said the high court has “unduly restricted” the information that can be sought per application, fixed Rs500 as the fee to be deposited with every RTI application and Rs15 as the amount to be paid for every page of information, etc.