W.P. (C) 194/2012
Petition challenging Allahabad High Court RTI Rules
The petition challenges the vires of the Allahabad High Court (RTI) Rules, 2006, which were found to be the most obstructive of all the High court rules examined by Common Cause. In November 2012, the High Court sought and was granted two months to amend the deviant rules. A gazette notification was issued on April 4, 2013 for the amendment of Rule 4 relating to application fees. Common Cause filed an additional affidavit on July 15, 2013, highlighting a deliberate ambiguity in the wording of the amended rule.
In January 2014, our PIL was clubbed with Lok Prahari’s PIL on the same issue, initially filed in the Allahabad High Court. After a long gap of over two years, the cunctation in listing of this matter finally ended with the Court taking it up on November 10, 2016. As the Court had already ordered returnable notice in September 2014, it directed that the matter be processed for listing.
The matter was listed before the Court on October 30, 2017 wherein I.A. No. 4/2015 was allowed and the respondent was directed to file their counter affidavits within four weeks.
The matter was brought before the court on January 23, 2018 and Justice Ashok Bhushan was recused from the bench.
On 20 March 2018, the matter was disposed by a two-judge Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice UU Lalit. In a welcome order, the Court directed the capping of maximum RTI fees to be charged by all government authorities at Rs 50 per application and Rs 5 for photocopies charges, while acknowledging the concerns of high fees acting as deterrents for RTI activists.