New Delhi(PTI): Former bureaucrat Vijai Sharma today took over the reins of Central Information Commission…
New Delhi: The already frustrating process of getting information through the Right to Information Act has hit another road block. And that is of returning of the appeals and complaints at the central information commission (CIC).
After speculative figures being thrown by activist derived from previous years average intake, a new link put up by the central information commission (CIC) informs that over 9,000 appeals have been returned in this year alone due to deficiency.
The CIC, which has over 33,000 appeals and complaints pending for hearing, has been struggling to reduce them. Besides this, it is said that around 10,000 cases have not even been processed that have come as Dak (posts) after August 25. Pending cases has been held as the main reason for killing of the RTI Act.
The return of appeals has been cited due to the new rule of identification of applicant — a rule, many argue runs against the RTI Act. However, activist have slammed the decision as a move to reduce the pending appeals artificially, while inconveniencing the applicants.
The Act mandates that only such information of applicant be sought as necessary to reach out to him. “However, it is surprising that they have found this new way of killing the RTI Act,” said Commodre Lokesh Batra (Retd.).
According to the figures available, in the month of January, over 20 percent appeals were returned “due to deficiency”, the same for November stood at 50 per cent. The highest was in the month of September with 90 percent of appeals being returned in that month.
“What exactly is this ‘deficiency’ as such is not told in the new link. They are citing some High Court judgment which was passed three years ago and that too did not make it compulsory for the CIC to adhere to it,” said Batra.
Reflecting recent news developments, there has been a big rise in the number of RTI appeals against the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission, the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. Over a third of cases involve appeals against the Ministry of Defence alone.
Vijai Sharma, chief central information commissioner, when contacted, said: “If it is a rule, we have to follow. This rule (of identification of applicant) was introduced in February. It is based on a High Court directive that was given.”