PANJIM: NGO Lokancho Aadhar Trajano D’Mello has approached the High Court of Bombay at Goa alleging the Revenue Department was levying exorbitant charges for disclosing information under the Right To Information Act in a bid to deter citizens from seeking department-related information.
The petitioner through his lawyer Advocate Rohit Bras De Sa has also alleged the State government, through a notification had arbitrarily hiked the cost for certified copies.
“The petitioner had applied under the RTI Act the document from Revenue Department and was charged Rs 153 for three pages and another instance for some other document applied by Shambhu Parab, also an office bearer of Lokancho Aadhar, was charged Rs 3,723 for 73 pages,” the 20-page Public Interest Litigation (Writ Petition) states.
Citing the notification framing rules under the name of Goa Land Revenue (Inspection, Search and Supply of copies of Land Records (Amendment) Rules, 2018; the petitioner alleged the hike in fees is to make it financially expensive and difficult for the citizens to obtain documents under the Act.
Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte has said the present coalition government has not notified any hike in fees stating, “We have not changed any rates of RTI. The charges are based on the type of documents. The rates are not prescribed by this government, these were existing rates (levied on the applicant). Since the matter is now legal, we will submit our reply to the court.”
D’Mello has sought that Congress party should raise the matter in the upcoming assembly session.