The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed Rs 50 as the maximum amount government bodies can charge for Right To Information applications, Bar & Bench reported.

A bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit passed the order on a batch of petitions challenging the rules framed by different authorities that allow them to fix separate fees to provide information under the RTI Act, the Times of India reported.

The petitions were filed in 2012 by NGO Common Cause, which challenged the rules laid down by the Allahabad High Court in 2006.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was representing the petitioners, told the Supreme Court that the Allahabad HC charges Rs 500 for information under the RTI Act– 50 times the amount set by the Centre. He said the Allahabad HC rules could discourage citizens from asking for information, and that this went against the spirit of the RTI Act.

Bhushan also pointed out the example of the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha, which in 2011 increased the RTI application fee to Rs 500, IANS reported. In 2016, this was reduced to Rs 300.

Under Central government rules, the fee for an RTI application is just Rs 10. Applicants need to spend only Rs 2 to get a photocopy of the documents submitted by the government.

Apart from capping the fee at Rs 50, the Supreme Court on Tuesday also said government bodies could not charge more than Rs 5 per page for photocopies, and ruled that public authorities cannot force applicants to tell them why they want the information.