It has been eight years since Right to Information (RTI) Act came into being but the country’s activists are clueless about what happens when India’s most potent information weapon clashes with other information dispensation mechanisms coded in a host of other pre-existing laws–such as Patents Act and Companies Act.This has become the moot point of a public interest litigation. The petition alleges that the patent office at New Delhi rejected his application under RTI citing the information dispensation mechanism in the Patents Act. Meanwhile, patent offices in Mumbai and Kolkata, which had accepted his application under RTI Act, have furnished information under Patents Act. This poses two set of challenges for the information seeker. First the Patents Act only offers access to limited set of information, much lesser than what can be gleaned through the RTI Act. Also procuring information through the route of Patents Act can be more expensive. For instance, in 2010, the patent office demanded a fee of Rs.1,04,000 for supplying certified copies of 26 documents, at Rs.4,000 per document.
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