This is regarding recently notified Haryana RTI Rules 2009 Rule 8 of Haryana RTI Act Rules , 2009 ----it deals with Mode of serving Notice by Commission in Appeals under RTI Act . It reads “the Commission may serve notice to the persons concerned in any of the following modes , namely :--
(a) by hand delivery (dasti) through process server;
(b) by Registered Post , Speed Post , Under Postal Certificate , Courier or such other means;
( c ) by electronic mail , if e-mail address is provided ; or
(d) by publication in the news-paper .”
Notices sent by Regd Post , Speed Post and Courier are delivered after taking receipt of delivery from recepient and thus delivery can be proved .
But in case of Notice sent by UPC Post , there will be no proof of delivery and it may have following implications amongst others :--
1 . PIO may deny receipt of notice . The Commission will penalize PIO for non-appearance and pass an Order against him . Commission's Order will be promptly quashed by High Court on the plea of PIO that Notice never reached him or did not reach in time . The PIO will have nothing to lose as he will be defended by department at tax-paying citizens (read RTI Applicants) . What will happen to rights of Appellant / Complainant , is anybody's guess .
2.Suppose the Notice from the Commission does not reach the Appellant / Complainant and thus he does not appear before Commission on date of hearing . The Commission is within its right to Pass an Order as per merits of the case . The Order of the Commission being final , with no review , the Appellant / Complainant is left with only one choice – a Writ Petition ! How many of citizens would (or rather can ) afford a writ petition .
3.“Courier or such other means “-- what it means is that Commission may literally use any mode (efficient or not ) without getting approval from Competent Authority or the legislature – literally giving the Commission powers to make its own Rules in this regard which may not be always in interests of the Pubic .
Now given the repeated observations of Hon'ble Supreme Court that UPC Post is not proper and reliable service , don't you think it is wrong to include UPC in such rules ?
Rule 4(4) of Haryana RTI Act Rules , 2009
Under old Rules ( 2005) the SPIO was required to assess and inform the Applicant of required fee within 7 days of receipt of RTI Application . But now there is no such limit . Now it reads that fee assessed by the SPIO shall be intimated to the applicant “expeditiously” . Can such a ambiguous rule be held efficient and sustain in eye of law ? Does it not dilute efficiency of original RTI Act 2005 .
Can these 2 infirmities be challenged in court and if yes , how ?