Following a CIC-verdict, my RTI application for information on top 10 tax-defaulters and top 10 tax-payers in each category, my RTI application was unnecessarily transferred to thousands of wards and circles of Income Tax Department in the country with a variety of replies coming from different wards and circles. It is evident that lakhs of rupees in terms of postal-charges, paper-work and man-hours must have been spent on such replies to a single RTI application where sought information must have been with nodal headquarters itself.
An office-memorandum (OM) dated September 24, 2010, from Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), clearly mentions that transfer under section 6(3) of RTI Act 2005 should be restricted to one department or public-authority only. However, such transfer may be done for some extra number say up to 10, but in no case to hundreds or thousands of departments. Another harm is a vast difference in the handling of RTI applications by so many public-authorities which can be troublesome for the department if matter reaches to Central Information Commission.
In case, the information relates to multiple departments, RTI applicants can be advised to file separate RTI applications to departments from where information is required to be sought. CBDT and Income Tax Department must arrange RTI workshops in different regions to be handled by known RTI experts.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)