The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation has asked a Right to Information activist to pay a 9% Goods and Services Tax each to the state and central governments for a query he had filed, Mumbai Mirror reported on Wednesday.

Sanjay Shirodkar had asked the state transport corporation – which is facing a financial crisis – for a list of debtors and creditors over the past decade and the reason for their debts or loans, the report said. He had also asked for the latest internal audit and audit reports from the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Shirodkar had filed the RTI application on September 26 and received a reply asking him to pay GST on October 10.

Under the RTI Act, an authority can charge Rs 2 per A4 sheet. But Shirodkar paid Rs 12, plus Rs 2 (Rs 1 each for State and Central GST at 9%) for six pages, DNA reported.

“I have been filing RTI applications for the past 12 years,” Shirodkar told Mumbai Mirror. “But this is the first time I have received such a unique and hilarious reply from a principal information officer.”

The managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, Ranjeet Singh Deol, said he was unaware of the development. The state information commissioner of the Konkan bench, Thanksy Thekkekara, told DNA that the GST does not apply to RTI queries.

The strike by workers of the state transport body is only adding to the losses of the cash-strapped corporation. The MSRTC has incurred losses of Rs 75 crore, with the Pune division alone losing Rs 1 crore a day since the strike began, the Hindustan Times reported.