The Indian Supreme Court gave the government and 25 states a month’s time to respond to a writ petition seeking a direction to establish Right to Information (RTI) web portals across all states to enable citizens, especially those living abroad, to file RTI applications online.
A bench led by Justice NV Ramana said no further adjournment would be granted to the government to reply to the petition filed by the Pravasi Legal Cell.
In August, the NGO, represented by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, had said that none of the states, except Delhi and Maharashtra, had set up RTI portals despite instructions to do so issued by the union government.
The Central government established an online RTI portal whereby any Indian citizen, including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), can apply for information under the RTI Act with the desired Ministry or Department under the Central government. An applicant can also pay the requisite fee through online payments on this portal and submit the RTI application, the petition said.
The Centre had also offered to provide technical support for this purpose through the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to the states.
The petition pointed out that a person seeking information under the RTI Act of 2005 from any state department is compelled to make a physical application, which was difficult for NRIs.
“The provision of an online web portal will help the Indian citizens, including the Non-Resident Indians by speedy dissemination of information requested, which in turn would only help in achieving the aim of the RTI laws of bringing transparency in administration,” the petition said.