New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court directed all High Courts to set up online Right to Information Act (RTI) portals within three months if not done already.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala observed that the online facilities will considerably facilitate the fulfilment of the objects of the RTI Act, 2005. It said the top court had also set up a portal for filing RTI applications to help people access information about the Supreme Court in November last year. Earlier, RTI applications concerning the top court were being filed through post only.
The High Courts of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have already set up web portals for the purpose, while the Karnataka High Court is using the website which is being set up by the state government, the apex court was apprised. The top court was informed that no High Court had established online portals for the subordinate judiciary.
At the outset, CJI expressed surprise over High Court still not having established an online RTI portal and highlighted that the Supreme Court had launched its online portal for filing RTI applications in relation to the Court.
The apex court was hearing a plea seeking a mechanism to set up an online portal for e-filing Right to Information (RTI) applications in High Courts as well as the district judiciary.
“We are of the view that such an exercise be carried out by all the High Courts in the country no later than within a period of three months from the date of this order,” the apex court said.
Regarding the RTI portals in the district judiciary, which is under the administrative control of the high courts, the top court asked the Registrar General of High Courts to take administrative directions from the Chief Justice.
“Online facilities will considerably facilitate the fulfilment of the objects of the Act. Though the Act was enacted in October 2005 after a lapse of 17 years, online web portals are still to be operationalised by some of the high courts,” it said.
The petition filed by NGO, Pravasi Legal Cell, said that the lack of online filing facilities for RTI applications causes many issues including NRIs having to file physically the applications for any information they required from governments.