There could be some help en route for RTI applicants. The Maharashtra state information commission has sought consolidation and comprehensive laying out of RTI rules. The work for consolidation has been sought from Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA).
As of now, each public authority has different rules, which ends up creating problem for the applicant if s/he wants to seek information.
The decision was taken at a meeting of all information commissioners on August 2 at Sahyadri, the state guest house. Apart from consolidation of rules, other issues that were taken up were video-conferencing facility and destruction of records at information commissions, among others.
"There are no rules or procedures laid down by the state for second appeal. At times, the state has come out with different rules that tell how original applications are to be made.
We believe there is a need for proper consolidation of all rules in one place and, hence, we have asked Yashada to do it," said state chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
State information commissioner (Brihanmumbai bench) Ajit Kumar Jain said the need arose when different circulars were issued by the government or the respective departments to complement disbursal of information as per the Act.
"Circulars or government resolutions are issued from time to time, these are scattered as of now. They pertain to appointments of public information officers and some instructions given by a particular department in pursuance of information commission order. We feel that all these need to come under one umbrella so that implementation can be aided," said Jain.
"There is already a book by Yashada that gives comparison on the rules of different states on the same issue. But if they bring out a book that will have all the circulars and directives about RTI from different authorities in the state, it will be a good thing. We have been making this request to all government departments, that they club all RTI-related details, but that has not been happening," said Bhaskar Prabhu of Mahiti Adhikar Manch, an NGO that promotes use of RTI.
Yashada director Pralhad Kachare said, "We have already put all the information on our website. It will be available for all to see with one click."