Access to Public Information
Company Doe v. Public Citizen
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The Constitutional Tribunal of Peru held that fees charged for access to copies of public information may not exceed the market rate for reproduction as established by the rules of administrative procedures of the public agency in question. The Court reasoned that any additional costs above those so provided were to be viewed as restricting the right to access public information.
This analysis was contributed by Right2Info.org.
Jenny Cabrera Asalde filed a writ for habeas data (i.e. an individual complaint based on a fundamental right to know information stored about oneself) within the Civil Court of Lima against the General Director of Administration of the Ministry of Justice (Court of First Instance), claiming that the amount charged for copies of information relating to a court case was excessive and thus an infringement of her right to access public information. The General Director of Administration of the Ministry of Justice ruled in favor of Asalde. The appellate court, the Fourth Civil Chamber of the Superior Court of Lima, reversed this decision. Asalde appealed to the Constitutional Court.
The Court ruled that the fee charged for copies of case information was excessive because it exceeded the market price for reproduction as specified in the Singular Text of Administrative Procedures (TUPA – “Texto Único de Procedimientos Administrativos”) and thus violated Asalde’s right of access to information. Article 20 of the Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information provides that the requester shall be required to pay an amount equal only to the reproduction costs, and any additional costs are to be viewed as restricting the right to access public information. Because the applicable fee specified in TUPA exceeded the market cost of reproduction, the decision of the appellate court was overturned, and the Court ordered the Ministry of Justice to adjust its fees to conform with the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information.
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