Government has put a word limit of 500 words for filing an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Besides this, a new format has been devised for filing an appeal to the Central Information Commission under the transparency law. The government has also made it mandatory for an appellant or his authorised representative to appear before the CIC either in person or through video-conferencing, according to new rules notified on July 31. An application "shall be accompanied by a fee of rupees ten and shall ordinarily not contain more than five hundred words, excluding annexures, containing address of the Central Public Information Officer and that of the applicant," the new rules said. Earlier, there was no word limit in seeking information. However, the rules said that "no application shall be rejected on the ground that it contains more than five hundred words".
According to a notification by the Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, an applicant will have to pay additional postal charges “involved in supply of information that exceeds fifty rupees”. There will be no fee charged from a person below the poverty line for providing a copy of the certificate issued by the appropriate government in this regard, it said. The RTI Act, which was enacted in 2005, covers disclosure of information on almost all matters of governance.