Continuing from our last post on the latest RTI fiasco before the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), we have now prepared a ‘review’ petition which we will mail to the IPO by tomorrow.
The ball is now in Dr. Kardam’s court – if he accepts the contentions in the review petition he will have to necessarily accept that the RTI Act, 2005 overrules the existing procedures under various IP laws to request information from different IP offices. If he rejects the review petition, he will bear the sole responsibility for sending the Trade Marks Registry, the Patents Office and the G.I. Registry back to the dark ages when there was no RTI Act. The existing procedures may help in procuring information from the IP offices but it is no secret that those rules were largely ineffectual since they did not give citizens any rights, as is the case under the RTI Act. This is precisely why the RTI Act was such a powerful weapon which shone so much light on the opaque workings of the IPO.
In any case, I have full confidence that Dr. Kardam will do justice to this review petition. If not, we'll just have to appeal his order.
The petition is as follows:
Dr. K. S. Kardam,
Intellectual Property Office,
Plot No. 32, Sector – 14,
New Delhi – 110075.
Dear Dr. Kardam,
Sub: Application for review of your order No. POD/RTI/Appeal/2/4/2012
1. You are requested to please consider this as an application requesting you to review your order No. POD/RTI/Appeal/2/4/2012 dated April 18th, 2012 in the case of Sumathi Chandrashekaran v. G.L. Verma, CPIO, GIR, Chennai.
2. In this particular case I had filed a RTI Application with the CPIO, Geographical Indications (G.I.) Registry requesting for a photocopy of the file pertaining to the ‘Darjeeling Tea’ G.I. The CPIO had agreed to provide the information that I had requested for, but at the cost of Rs. 10 per page of photocopying. Since this amount was five times the cost prescribed by the Central Government, I filed an appeal requesting you to direct the G.I. Registrar to charge a fee of only Rs. 2 per page as per the relevant Govt. of India rules.
3. In your decision, you dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the RTI Act was inapplicable to those categories of information which could be requested for under the G.I. Act & Rules.
4. Your latest decision is entirely contradictory to what you have held earlier in the case of Sai Vinod v. CPIO, Patent Office, Chennai (No.POD/RTI/Appeal/7/12/2011). In that case, you had rightly depended on the judgment of the CIC in the case of Mr. R.S. Misra v. CPIO, Supreme Court of India (Decision No. CIC/SM/A/2011/000237/SG/12351).
5. In the case of my appeal, you have denied me information under the RTI Act, 2005 on the basis of a later decision of the CIC in the case of V.K.Malik v. Tis Hazari.
6. I would however like to point out to you that the CIC decision in the V.K.Malik v. Tis Hazari would be applicable only if I had requested for certified copies. In contrast, my RTI application is very clear that in its request for only photocopies, and not certified copies. You will appreciate that there is a distinction between a ‘certified copy’ and a mere photocopy. The term certified copy is defined in Section 76 of the Evidence Act, 1872 in the following manner:
76. Certified copies of Public Documents - Every public officer having the custody of a public document, which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person on demand a copy of it on payment of the legal fees therefor together with a certificate written at the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such document or part thereof, as the case may be, and such certificate shall be dated and subscribed by such officers with his name and his official title, and shall be sealed whenever such officer is authorized by law to make use of a seal, and such copies so certified shall be called certified copies.
7. A certified copy of a document, in context of the G.I registry, would be given under the seal of the G.I. Registry with a certificate that the document thus provided is a true copy, and has been so verified by the Officer in charge. Such documents can be submitted as evidence in a court of a law.
8. On the other hand, a photocopy is a mere copy of a document, which does not carry a certificate from the Officer in charge stating that the information sought for is a true copy of the actual information. A simple photocopy is not the equivalent of a certified copy.
9. The CIC decision cited by you clearly applies only to certified copies and not simple photocopies.
You are therefore requested to review your order in my appeal and grant me the original relief that I had applied for.