In yet another shocking incident, the organization has exposed the huge profiteering done by the state of Maharashtra as it is collecting around 59% extra fees than the prescribed fee of Rs.10/- from each applicant of right to information application submitted under Right to Information Act 2005 through its official online portal.
With an objective to achieve the good governance, the State of Maharashtra had launched their official online portal for submission of the right to information application few years earlier. The official link of the website is as follows-
The organization had also published an article about how to file an RTI application through online portal of State of Maharashtra, the link of the article is as follows-
How To File Online RTI Application & First Appeal at State of Maharashtra
The Fees of an RTI Application Fixed at Rs.10/- by the Rules of 2012-
The state government wide their notification in the year 2012 has fixed fee of an RTI application at Rs.10/- & the same can be paid by the applicant through judicial stamp, postal order or through Demand Draft etc. Hence in our opinion, it is illegal to charge in excess than Rs.10/- as fixed by the State Government of Maharashtra itself.
Exposed- Collection of the Excessive and Exorbitant Fees in the Name of Portal Fee and Taxes-
However the right to information applicant who is above the poverty line has to pay Rs.5/- as ‘Portal Fee’ and Rs.0.90/- for the CGST & SGST Taxes on the official website above mentioned. Thus the actual charge for the RTI application submitted through online portal of the State of Maharashtra becomes Rs.15.90/- ( Rs.10/- already charged as per the Rules of 2012+ Rs.5.90/- as Portal Fee & Taxes) which is violation of the rules made by the State of Maharashtra itself.
Analysis of the exorbitant fees by charged by the state government-
We decided to analyse the actual probable cost for running the whole portal. However in spite of that, it is clear that the state government has been charging exorbitant fees for the online RTI application as the website is not a separate mechanism but only an ‘application forwarding platform’ of the RTI applications to the concerned departments.
Any beginner software developer would explain that the once the email ids and mechanism software is installed to forward the RTI applications received by the applicants, no huge cost is required to run the website thereafter.
The Other Central and State Government Websites Providing Free Services With The Same Facilities-
It is pertinent to note that very own website of the Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra to resolve the grievances of the common people through ‘Aaple Sarkar Grievance Redressal Portal’ provides many facilities like submission of applications and grievances, their tracking & time to time updates, appeals to Nodal Officers etc. but no fee is charged from the people at all. Apart from this, even an online right to application portal of the central government charges fee of Rs.10/- only for the RTI application and no additional cost is charged from the common people.
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Huge Profiteering by the State Government by Charging 59% Extra Fees for an RTI Application-
As above mentioned it is clear that the state government is making huge profit from the RTI applicants and the same can be explained with simple mathematics too, e.g-
If it is assumed that in one year 10 lac people filed RTI applications each which would mean that the state government a has charged Rs.10+Rs.5.90 from each RTI application, & thus the government –
1) Has charged excessive amount of Rs.59,00,000/- from the common people in addition to-
2) The collection of Rupees 1 crore i.e. Rs/-10 from ten lac RTI applicants!
It is also clear that the maintenance cost of the website must be very negligible compared to such huge income and profiteering which is being done over the years. The organization shall take appropriate legal action against such huge profiteering soon.
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