Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The District Planning Officer, Palakkad, has asked an information seeker under the Right to Information Act to pay Rs.53,860 towards the cost of providing information relating to use of MPs’ funds. The cost includes Rs.13,000 for photocopying the documents, Rs.30,560 for paying two research assistants for compiling the information, Rs.300 for loading and unloading charges and Rs.4,000 as postal charges.

D.B. Binu of Kochi, a lawyer and campaigner for Right to Information, who had sought the details of Kerala MPs’ Local Area Development fund, said the demand was illegal and against the spirit of the RTI Act. He said he would appeal to the State Information Commission.

According to him, the rules framed by the Kerala government only require the information seeker to pay Rs.2 per page of certified copy of the information sought. Those belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category need not pay even this. Mr. Binu had requested the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi to give him the details of the funds utilised by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs from Kerala. The PMO, after providing some details like the guidelines for using the funds, had asked the Secretariat at Thiruvananathapuram to provide the rest of the details.