Modi is Gutting RTI
Updated: November 25, 2014 03:26 IST
Pendency killing RTI, say activists
The post of Chief Information Commissioner has been vacant since August 22 when Rajiv Mathur retired. The Chief Information Commissioner is to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a three-member committee headed by the Prime Minister, that includes the Leader of the Opposition and a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
“All that it needed was for the meeting to be called and appointment made,” Nikhil Dey of the National Campaign for the People’s Right To Information said. “The appointment was not held up by the lack of a Leader of the Opposition, because the RTI Act clearly states that the leader of the single largest opposition is also acceptable. If transparency had mattered to the government, they would have made the appointment a priority,” he said.
Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has long said that rising pendency is killing the landmark Act. “When I was in the CIC, we decided that we would dispose of a minimum of 3,200 cases per year. I myself was doing 5,000 cases a year and 6,000 in my last year. Yet this norm is being flouted, and Information Commissioners are working less and less, and pendency is piling up,” he said.
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.