CIC for out-of-box solution to save RTI from delays

‘Short orders’ can drastically reduce the pendency: Satyanand Mishra to Governance Now

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | February 17, 2012


CIC Satyanand Mishra
CIC Satyanand Mishra

There are more than 26,000 cases pending with the central information commission (CIC). At various state-level commissions, the figures could be worse. It is a measure of the success of the RTI revolution, but now this very success can smother it. From here, the RTI can very well go the way of consumer courts.

Satyanand Mishra, the chief information commissioner, is very much concerned. Firstly, he wants the central government to fill up the four vacancies. CIC has a sanctioned strength of 10 information commissioners but currently it is working with only six. Yet, even ten information commissioners burning the midnight oil will not be able to tackle the backlog. What is the way out?

“These are the things about which one must give a serious thought. We have not come with any suggestions of what can be the other ways, because some of the ways could be extremely radical which may not have acceptability,” Mishra told Governance Now in an interview (to be published in our March 1 issue).

“For example, if we decide to give short orders, it may not be easily accepted. But then we can decide 100 cases a day. You cannot give any suggestions to dismantle cases in law courts but this is not a law court. This is a people’s court and there is no distance between this commission and people, they are part of it.

“We are seriously thinking of giving very short orders and some day we will try that in the commission to see how it is accepted,” he said.

Moreover, Mishra said there was a scope to increase the number of disposals within the present format too. “Some of the commissioners are handling a huge number of cases a month,” he said.

As for the pending vacancies, all Mishra had to say was: “It is not the duty of commission to fill up these vacancies; this is the responsibility of the central government. We have written to the government from time to time to fill up these posts. We need all the ten positions to be filled soon.”

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