CIC now runs on eight information commissioners

Vacancies will cast its impact on the timely disposal of cases

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Archana Mishra | February 17, 2017 | New Delhi


#central information commission   #vacancies  
Central Information Commission

  
The Central Information Commission is not in its full strength again. With the retirement of information commissioners (ICs), Basant Seth, on February 17 and MA Khan Yusufi on December 31, 2016, the commission is burdened with more than 30,000 cases and now working with only eight ICs and one chief information commissioner (CIC). Two vacant positions will affect the timely disposal of cases pending for processing and hearing in the commission.
 
Last year in September, as per the RTI mandate of having 10 ICs, department of personnel training (DoPT) advertised for filling the positions of Yusufi and Seth. However, in last five months no names have been finalised.  
 
In an RTI filed by the activist Commodore Lokesh Batra, the DoPT informed that it had received 225 applications for the vacancies. It did not reveal the names of the applicants and the names of the screening committee members citing disclosure of information is subject to exemption under RTI Act, 2005. However Batra says that the information requested by him doesn’t fall in the exemption clauses. 
 
Of late, CIC has been receiving flaks for the rejection of applications and poor orders. 
 
Two vacancies will cast its impact on the timely disposal of cases. According to Batra, the central registry of the commission is still processing appeals and complaints received from December 2016 onwards. As per the information available on the CIC website, more than 30,000 cases are pending for hearing. “There must be almost 35,000 appeals and complaints pending for processing or hearing,” he says.
 
In 2015, a PIL was filed by RTI activists in Delhi high court regarding the appointment of the post of CIC which was vacant for ten months. The high court in its order observed, “Having regard to the undisputed fact that the non-appointment of the chief information commissioner has virtually frustrated the very purpose of the Right to Information Act, 2005, we are of the view that it is necessary for this court to monitor the steps that are being taken for filling up the vacancies in question so as to ensure that all the vacancies are filled up within a time frame.”
 
 
 
 

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