<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Don’t be surprised if the next time you file an application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, GST is levied on the fees to be paid for receiving the information. A Pune-resident, who filed an RTI application with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) recently, was told this by the Public Information Officer (PIO).Sanjay Shirodkar was asked to pay Rs 14 to receive six pages of information. As per the rules of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, an authority can charge Rs 2 per A4 sheet. For six pages, Shirodkar paid Rs 12, plus Rs 1 at 9% of SGST and Rs 1 at 9% for CGST.However, State Information Commissioner (Konkan bench) Thanksy Thekkekara says GST does not apply to RTI. “As far as I am aware, there is no GST on RTI,” he said.On September 26, Shirodkar had sought true copies of publications printed and published by the MSRTC, list of sundry debtors and creditors for last 10 years, a list of bad debts along with name of the party/ entity and reason for bad debts, copy of the list of write-offs for last 10 years, along with name of party, and CAG audit report.”I have been seeking information through RTI for 12 years and have used the Act more than 5,000 times in my career,” said Shirodkar. “This is the first time I have received such a unique and hilarious reply. Where is the copy of notification stating this provision? Where is the copy of amendment in RTI? Where is the copy mentioning RTI information in the GST list? And what is the logic of 18%? Why not 28% or 12% or 6%?.” Bhaskar Pabhu, who runs Mahiti Adhikar Manch that propagates RTI, said, “Information sought under RTI is neither goods nor service; it is entitlement. It is totally wrong to charge GST when there is no clarification from government. The government has not harmonised any rate of interest for RTI. Even food grains do not have GST. It is laughable.”Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said, “I feel GST should not be levied to RTI, but I concede to have not studied the GST law. To make a fare comment, one must understand GST. When you make laws, words do not necessarily convey what you had in mind. Prima facie, GST should be charged over a turnover of a certain amount.”Pay for infoAs per RTI rules, Rs 2 is to be charged per A4 sheet needed to give info. For 6 pages, Sanjay Shirodkar was charged Rs 12, plus Rs 1 at 9% SGST & Rs 1 at 9% CGST

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RTI applicant asked to pay GST for info