The Supreme Court of India on Monday issued notices to the Centre and state governments on a petition seeking to establish an online Right to Information (RTI) portal accessible to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana issued the order while hearing the plea filed by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Pravasi Legal Cell through lawyer Jose Abraham. The NGO is seeking a direction to all state governments to create an online RTI portal facility that will make it possible to obtain information on the web.
"One of the most effective provisions in the RTI Act is section 7(1) which states that 'information sought for concerns about the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within 48 hours of the receipt of the request' is not effective under the existing system and it severely affects the life and liberty of citizens," the petition said.
The petitioner told the court that the Central government had already established an online portal for any Indian citizen, including NRIs, to seek information under the RTI Act with the desired ministry or department.
The Central government then directed the state governments in December 2013 to explore the feasibility of implementing online RTIs in their respective states but only Maharashtra and Delhi had set up online portals.
"It is also difficult for NRIs desirous of obtaining information from any department of the state governments at present since they have to undergo physical application process," the petitioner said.