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75% Information Commissions fail to disclose basic information online under RTI: Report

Prasad GLN

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75% Information Commissions fail to disclose basic information online under RTI: Report

It is alarming to note that in the thirteenth year of the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, more than 75% Information Commissions (ICs) failed to proactively disclose basic updated information about their functioning on their own websites. Further, 55% of Commissions have failed to provide complete information within the stipulated timeframe in response to information requests filed to them, shows a study report.


According to a “Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India” prepared by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES), transparency is a key to promoting peoples’ trust in public institutions. The assessment found that several ICs were non-functional or were functioning at reduced capacity, despite large backlogs, as the posts of commissioners, including that of the chief information commissioner (CIC), were vacant during the period under review. In many cases, the appointments of information commissioners were found to be set aside by courts due to lack of transparency in the process of appointment and for being in violation of the provisions of the RTI Act and directions of the Supreme Court.


In addition, the Report, says, “By failing to disclose information on their functioning, ICs continue to evade real accountability to the people of the country whom they are supposed to serve. The legal requirement for the central and state information commissions to submit annual reports every year to Parliament and state legislatures respectively, is to make, among other things, their activities transparent and available for public scrutiny. However, very few ICs fulfil this obligation, and even fewer do it in time”. 


For institutions that are vested with the responsibility of ensuring that all public authorities function transparently and adhere to the letter and spirit of the RTI Act, it would perhaps be fair to expect that information commissions lead by example, the report says adding, ICs are also public authorities under the RTI Act and therefore, other than responding to applications for information under law, they are also required to proactively disclose (under section 4) information on their functioning and the details of decisions taken by them.


Link: https://www.moneylife.in/article/75-percentage-information-commissions-fail-to-disclose-basic-information-online-under-rti-report/53881.html



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