COIMBATORE: Petitioners of Right To Information (RTI) Act are now being asked to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) for seeking copies of the documents. This came to light when an activist was asked to pay 18 percent GST — Rs 180 to get photocopy of documents at the cost of Rs 1,000 — by Tamil Nadu Housing Board.
In reply to V Gopalakrishnan, a Chennai-based petitioner who sought the details under the RTI, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) asked him to pay the amount with GST for getting the document. He wanted details of a land in K K Nagar in Chennai and filed a RTI petition with the Board on April 10.
In response, the PIO of TNHB asked him to remit total of Rs 1,180 for the document on May 10.V Gopalakrishnan said that the Board demanded the tax without having proper knowledge of the RTI and GST.“As per the National Consumer Forum’s rule and the Supreme Court’s order, the petitioner of RTI does not come under Consumer Act since he is not an accommodate of goods and service in it. Also, as per our thorough checking, the Public Administration and Reforms Department, which is the authority liable for issuing such Government Order regard slapping of GST for RTI, has not released any such order,” he said.
The demand of GST from the petitioner under RTI was a wrongful one and he is prepared for further appeal. When asked about this, a senior official of State GST Office, said, “Since, there is no transaction of selling and buying in the RTI, the GST is not applicable to it. If it was slapped, it definitely is a wrongful one.”