The Madras High Court has issued notices to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government on a PIL seeking to launch an online RTI portal for getting information from various departments of the state government. A Division Bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee issued the notice to Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training and Director General, National Informatics Centre, New Delhi, on a petition from A S Mohamed Khader Meeran, an MBBS student from Tiruchirapalli. The judges also issued a notice to the state government, returnable by September 4. The petitioner, while referring to the development of online portal by Maharashtra under the RTI Act, submitted that the centre had, in response to a query, said that no financial or technical assistance was provided to that state in this regard. He further said that the Centre had submitted that it had requested the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to provide technical support such as software and source code to governments which desired to replicate the web portal for online filing of RTI applications at the state level. The petitioner further alleged that the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, government of Tamil Nadu, had stated that it had already approached the NIC and was taking steps to develop the software for the same. He further said that an RTI query raised by him revealed that no such request was made by any of the departments of the Tamil Nadu government. Stating that the above development would reduce the burden of Public Information officers, paper work and also save public money, the petitioner prayed the court to direct the government to launch an online RTI portal.
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