Indian Government Moves Slightly on FOI Word Limit

4 March 2011

The Indian government has backed down somewhat from its proposal to limit the length of freedom of information requests to 250 words.

Five hundred words would be permitted, according to a Times of India report, which credited the movement to the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC). The council has previously criticized the proposed new rules from the Department of Personnel and Training. (See previous report.) 

The government also has relented on a proposal that work on a FOI request  would be ended if the applicant died.  

The government “is still insisting that an RTI application should be focused on one subject,” according to the newspaper account. “But NAC has decided not to give up.”

An activist advised  “This is still news in the making. The latest is that they have also agreed that though there would be an advisory about the 500 words limit – there would be a clear stipulation that no application can be rejected on the basis of the number of words.”

He commented further: “Though a slight compromise – it really gives nothing away – just adds a bit to the potential for confusion.”

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