Backlog of pending RTI appeals can kill the law, says commissioner Shailesh Gandhi

Trust in RTI Act depends on time taken to dispose of appeals

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Danish Raza | March 30, 2010



Increasing backlog of undecided second appeals under RTI Act, 2005, will eventually destroy citizens' faith in the law, Shailesh Gandhi, one of central information commissioners, has said.

“If the cases take years for disposal, that will mark the collapse of the justice system. Then it remains only for criminals and influential people to make use of,” Gandhi said at function in Jaipur on Sunday.

“My first priority was the disposal of the cases. Now I have only cases of less than 60 days with me. To me, speedy disposal is non-negotiable.”

Any information commissioner who disposes of 1500 to 2,000 cases annually is a “good commissioner,” said Gandhi, who was an RTI activist before being appointed an information commissioner.

Many state information commissions had accumulated huge backlog of appeals and complaints because they did not have adequate number of commissioners.

“Arunachal Pradesh, a small state with 12 lakh population and 100 cases a year on an average, has five commissioners while many larger states like Gujarat have no more than one commissioners. Even Kerala has five commissioners.”

The event was also attended Nikhil Dey and Aruna Roy, both belonging to Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and well known members of the RTI movement.

Dey said the state governments should include RTI Act in the school curriculum to create awareness about the law.

“Students should be made to participate in the implementation of RTI,” Dey said.

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