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The Supreme Court on Monday sought replies from Centre and States on a plea which sought creation of online portal to allow people to register online applications for information from any department.

A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana sought reply on a plea filed by NGO Pravasi Legal Cell through lawyer Jose Abraham.

“One of the most effective provisions in the RTI Act is section 7(1) which states that “information sought for concerns 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. This provision can be more useful with the creation on online RTI portals at the State level,” the petition said.

The plea also said that absence of online portal to seek information through RTI Act would render the Act invalid and would defeat its purpose.

“The nature of injury caused or likely cause to the public is that if there is no online portals for seeking information under the Right to Information Act, the very purpose of the RTI Act which is a powerful tool in the hands of Indian citizens with the objective of timely response to citizens’ request for government information would be defeated,” the plea said.

The plea also said that the online portals for accessing information under RTI Act would prove very beneficial for NRIs as presently they have to take rigorous route to access information under the Act.

“…Whereas, the provision of an online web portal will only 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. There is no civil, criminal or revenue litigation involving Petitioner which is or could have any legal nexus with the issues involved in the public interest litigation,” the plea said.

—India Legal Bureau     

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