Want reservation details? Pay Rs 2.4 cr, railways tell Mumbai RTI activist

In a reply to Manoranjan Roy, Central Railway said a charge of Rs 1,000 per page plus service tax would be levied on the activist for the information on reservation between February 11-15 that he had asked for; the same information could have been provided on a CD for just Rs 60

If you are thinking about filing a Right to Information (RTI) application for some information from Central Railway (CR), be prepared to cough up a lot of money. CR has told an RTI activist from Juhu, who was seeking information on reservation charts, to pay Rs 2.4 crore for the details.

Roy had filed an RTI application asking CR for reservation details for rail journeys originating from Mumbai between February 11 and February 15. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Roy had filed an RTI application asking CR for reservation details for rail journeys originating from Mumbai between February 11 and February 15. Pics/Satyajit Desai

On February 16, 2015, Manoranjan Roy, an RTI activist from Juhu, filed an RTI application asking CR for reservation details for rail journeys originating from Mumbai between February 11 and February 15. Roy received the shock of his life when he received the reply in March.

Manoranjan Roy at the Santacruz railway reservation centre
Manoranjan Roy at the Santacruz railway reservation centre

CR wanted Roy to pay Rs 2,39,14,702 (including service charge of 12.36 per cent) for the details of reservation charts during the specified period. “This was a shock for me as I regularly file queries under RTI and get information. But this time I was asked to pay Rs 2.4 crore for getting the copies of details I have asked for.

The RTI reply
The RTI reply

They have also added service tax to the amount,” said Roy. According to the RTI reply received by Roy, as per existing CR rules, a fee of Rs 1,000 per page plus 12.36 per cent service tax is collected for providing a reservation chart to any person.

The reservation chart details that Roy had called for spilled over to 21,284 pages. He was therefore asked to pay Rs 2,39,14,702 (Rs 2.4 crore) by way of demand draft or cheque issued in favour of Account Officer, CR, Mumbai. “The letter says that on payment of the amount specified, the copies of details asked in the RTI will be furnished immediately.

I am unable to understand that when the charge for getting copy of the details is between Rs 2 to Rs 5 per page. Why are they asking for crores of rupees for my information?” asked Roy. He added that it was the first time he was being asked to pay such a huge amount.

“It looks like they (CR) don’t want to furnish the details, hence they are charging so much. They know that nobody will pay in crores to get RTI details,” said Roy. Normally, when RTI replies spill over to a large number of pages, the information is provided in a digitised form in a CD, which costs only Rs 60. Roy is now in the process of filing an appeal for getting his information.

CR’s Chief Public Relations Officer Narendra Patil told mid-day that the charges for reservation charts were “very high” and he would confirm the same in a couple of days. “If the RTI activist who filed the query is not satisfied with the reply, he can always file an appeal,” said Patil.

21,284
Number of pages the info would run to, according to the RTI reply

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1 Comments

  • DJM04-Apr-2015

    Can he explain why he needed 21000 pages of information. Else it looks like a misuse of the RTI

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