Friday, November 22, 2013

Central Information Commission has "no information" on pendency of cases before January 1, 2013

By Our Representative
In reply to a right to information (RTI) query, the Central Information Commission (CIC) – which India’s highest body to hear appeals to RTI applications to the Government of India and other Central authorities – has said that a whopping 24,326 cases were pending to be cleared by before it “as on October 2013”. The reply, sent to an RTI applicant, Kalpeshkumar Gupta of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, interestingly, said that “before January 1, 2013, pendency of cases was not maintained by the CIC.” Gupta had demanded “appeals pending for years” before it.
The only other information available about the appeals and complaints, separately, before the CIC, said the reply, is between October 12, 2005 and January 1, 2006 – the number of registered cases before it was 703, while the number of disposals was 682 during the period. The reply said, “The RTI Act came in force as on October 12, 2005.” It added, “Neither appeals nor complaints before October 2005 were filed with the commission.”
In fact, the reply clarifies, “The commission does not compile statistics separately for appeals and complaints.” Hence, it pointed out, information is not maintained by the CIC in the format requested by the applicant in the format he wanted – year and month-wise details of opening balance of appeals and complaints, the appeals and complaints admitted, those that have been disposed of, and the closing balance.
The reply also said that it did not have any information about year-wise compensation awarded under section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, 2005, which provides for compensating the applicant for delay in providing information. Nor did it have any information about year-wise details of disciplinary action initiated under Section 20(2) of the RTI Act, under which disciplinary action has provided for in case the public information officer deliberately hides information with a mala fide intention. “Information is not maintained by the CIC”, the reply says.
As regards imposition of penalty, the reply says, “the progressive figure of cases, as on February 19, 2013, was 864, in which penalty has been imposed. The total amount of penalty imposed since 2007-08 is Rs 1.62 crore, out of which Rs 98.40 lakh has been recovered so far.”
At the same time, it clarifies, “The commission does not maintain year-wise data in this regard. In certain cases, the PIOs have preferred for waiver and stay on penalty amount. Although in some cases the commission has been made a party, there are many instances where the commission is not made a party.”
To the query “what is the procedure for allocation of appeal and complaint cases”, the reply says, “Appeals and complaints ascertaining from the responses of the Central PIOs/ appellate authorities of the public authorities are allocated among the information commissioners in accordance with the ministry/ department/ public authority-wise; work allocation is decided by the chief information commissioner under section 12(4) of the RTI Act.”

In yet another reply to the question regarding “staff details of all levels, ie information commissioner to peon”, the CIC’s IPO says that out of the sanctioned staff of one chief information commissioner and 10 information commissioners, six posts of information commissioners are vacant. As for the rest of the staff, as against the sanctioned staff of 160, there is a vacancy of 20. 

1 comment:

C J Karira said...

People in glasshouses should not throw stones ! Does CIC have any moral right to order CPIOs to disclose information if it does not have basic info itself. Make a strong first appeal. Also appeal against something called "Nodal CPIO". There is no such designation as per RTI Act. Only the CPIO can provide information under his own signature.
Please read: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/116643-nodal-cpio-cic-illegal.html