Skip to main content

RTI: backlog of appeals, complaints has been 'steadily increasing' in commissions

By Our Representative 

Marking 17 years of implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in India, the civil rights group Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) has said that the law has empowered millions of people to seek information and hold the government accountable, yet a whopping 3,14,323 appeals and complaints were pending on June 30, 2022 in the 26 information commissions, from which the data was obtained.
Under the RTI law, information commissions are the final appellate authority and are mandated to safeguard and facilitate people’s fundamental right to information. Information commissions (ICs) have been set up at the central level (Central Information Commission- CIC) and in the states (state information commissions- SICs).
Based on information accessed under the RTI Act, the ‘Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India, 2021-22’ examines the performance of all 29 commissions in India in terms of the number of appeals and complaints registered and disposed by them, number of pending cases, estimated waiting time for the disposal of an appeal/complaint filed in each commission, frequency of violations penalised by commissions and transparency in their working.
The report said, two Information Commissions -- Jharkhand and Tripura -- are completely defunct as no new commissioners have been appointed upon the incumbents demitting office, and four commissions are currently headless: the SICs of Manipur, Telangana, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are functioning without a chief.
It further said, "2,12,443 appeals and complaints were registered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 by 25 information commissions for whom relevant information was available. During the same time period, 2,27,950 cases were disposed of by 27 commissions for which information could be obtained."
The report noted, "3,14,323 appeals and complaints were pending on June 30, 2022 in the 26 information commissions, from which data was obtained. The backlog of appeals/complaints has been steadily increasing in commissions."
Assessment shows that West Bengal SIC would take an estimated 24 years three months to dispose a matter
It added, "The 2019 assessment had found that as of March 31, 2019, a total of 2,18,347 appeals/complaints were pending in the 26 information commissions from which data was obtained which climbed to 2,86,325 as of June 30, 2021."
The report said, "Using the average monthly disposal rate and the pendency in commissions, the time it would take for an appeal/complaint to be disposed was computed. The assessment shows that West Bengal SIC would take an estimated 24 years three months to dispose a matter. A matter filed on July 1, 2022 would be disposed in the year 2046 at the current monthly rate of disposal!"
It added, "In Odisha and Maharashtra SICs, estimated time for disposal is more than five years and in Bihar more than two years. The assessment shows that 12 commissions would take one year or more to dispose a matter."
The analysis of penalties imposed by information commissions shows, according to the report, that the commissions did not impose penalties in 95% of the cases where penalties were potentially imposable.
It added, though Section 25 of the RTI Act obligates each commission to prepare a report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act every year which is to be laid before Parliament or the state legislature, "20 out of 29 ICs (69%) have not published their annual report for 2020-21."



Importance of Bangladesh for India amidst 'growing might' of China in South Asia

By Samara Ashrat*  The basic key factor behind the geopolitical importance of Bangladesh is its geographical location. The country shares land borders with Myanmar and India. Due to its geographical position, Bangladesh is a natural link between South Asia and Southeast Asia.  The country is also a vital geopolitical ally to India, in that it has the potential to facilitate greater integration between Northeast India and Mainland India. Not only that, due to its open access to the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh has become significant to both China and the US.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'BBC film shows only tip of iceberg': Sanjiv Bhatt's daughter speaks at top US press club

By Our Representative   The United States' premier journalists' organisation, the National Press Club (NPC), has come down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recent "attacks on journalists in India." Speaking at the screening of an episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question,” banned in India, in the club premises, NPC President Eileen O’Reilly said, “Since Modi came to power we have watched with frustration and disappointment as his regime has suppressed the rights of its citizens to a free and independent news media."

Chinese pressure? Left stateless, Rohingya crisis result of Myanmar citizenship law

By Dr Shakuntala Bhabani*  A 22-member team of Myanmar immigration officials visited Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar to verify more than 400 Rohingya refugees as part of a pilot repatriation project. Does it hold out any hope for the forcibly displaced people to return to their ancestral homes in the Rakhine state of Myanmar? Only time will tell.

China ties up with India, Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingyas; Myanmar unwilling

By Harunur Rasid*  We now have a new hope, thanks to news reports that were published in the Bangladeshi dailies recently. Myanmar has suddenly taken initiatives to repatriate Rohingyas. As part of this initiative, diplomats from eight countries posted in Yangon were flown to Rakhine last week. Among them were diplomats from Bangladesh, India and China.

Natural farming: Hamirpur leads the way to 'huge improvement' in nutrition, livelihood

By Bharat Dogra*  Santosh is a dedicated farmer who along with his wife Chunni Devi worked very hard in recent months to convert a small patch of unproductive land into a lush green, multi-layer vegetable garden. This has ensured year-round supply of organically grown vegetables to his family as well as fetched several thousand rupees in cash sales.

Over-stressed? As Naveen Patnaik turns frail, Odisha 'moves closer' to leadership crisis

By Sudhansu R Das  Not a single leader in Odisha is visible in the horizon who can replace Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He has ruled Odisha for nearly two and half decades. His father, Biju Patnaik, had built Odisha; he was a daring pilot who saved the life of Indonesia’s Prime Minister Sjahrir and President Sukarno when the Dutch army blocked their exit.

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Ban Ki-moon, others ask Bangladesh PM to 'protect' Yunus

Counterview Desk  A campaign has been launched to support Bangladesh-based economist, micro-finance guru and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, seeking signatures from citizens across the globe in order to “protect” his work, life and safety.

Electricity sharing opens up new window for India’s eastern neighbourhood engagement

By Sufian Asif* Today, challenges like climate change, pandemics, energy reliance, economic crisis, and many more are concerning us. No nation can overcome these obstacles without the assistance and collaboration of other nations. Most importantly, many of these problems have international repercussions. South Asia is facing much more difficulty when compared to other regions. In South Asia, we have some regional organizations, but they are ineffective.