The department of posts has rejected a proposal made by the Central Information Commission for introduction of RTI stamps as a mode of payment of fees for making an application under the Right to Information, saying it is not a feasible option.
The proposal was rejected based on the recommendations of a committee set up by the postal department to examine the feasibility of introduction of RTI stamps.
The CIC in its judgment dated March 30, 2016, had noted that the appellant’s suggestion of printing RTI stamps rather than using postage stamps of definitive series appears to carry some merit. The CIC had stated that the appellant contended that the department incurred a charge of Rs 37.45 per postal order and has spent Rs 4 crore in 2011-12 alone, and by printing RTI stamps, such a huge expenditure could have been saved.
The committee, however, said that the department has a sufficient stock of postal orders to meet the requirement of RTI applications, and therefore, there is no justification for introducing an alternative mode of payment which would lead to extra cost for the department.
It noted that since the requirement of RTI stamps will not be as large as compared to regular postage stamps, making them available through all the 1.5 lakh post offices for sale across the length and breadth of the country would be a huge logistical task for the department of posts.
It also felt that at this stage, when the Central government has already launched RTI online which involves online payment of RTI fee and costs, the use of postage stamps would be a regressive step in the efforts towards electronic delivery of services.
Since its inception, the RTI online portal has received more than 1,90,000 RTI applications online. Also, the central government has launched the facility of an eIPO (electronic Indian Postal Order) to purchase IPOs electronically by online payment.
The postal department, however, said the issue could be revisited after three years, taking into account the prevailing situation at that time.