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The Plight of the RTI Act in the past 15 years - RTI in Media

Priya De

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  • According to an estimate, between 40 and 60 lakh RTI applications are filed every year, but less than 3 per cent Indian citizens have ever filed an RTI plea.
  • Of the applications filed, less than 45 per cent received the information they had sought, according to the ‘Report Card of Information Commissions in India, 2018-19’ released by the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SSN) and the Centre for Equity Studies (CES).
  • But of the 55 per cent who didn’t receive the information, less than 10 per cent filed appeals.
  • As of 31 March 2019, there were 2.18 lakh appeals and complaints pending before the SICs. 
  • The study added that it took an average of more than a year for  most SICs to dispose of complaints/appeals. While the SIC of Andhra Pradesh would take 18 years to dispose of a complaint, West Bengal SIC would take seven years and five months.
  • Then there is the issue of threats and acts of violence against RTI activists. In the last 15 years, at least 86 people who had filed RTI applications have been killed while 175 others have been attacked. At least seven applicants committed suicide while 184 applicants reported being harassed.
  • As per a study by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the total number of RTI pleas with various central government offices rose by 83 per cent — from 8.86 lakh to 16.30 lakh. Read the Study here
  • Of the 115 chief information commissioners appointed during this period, over 83 per cent were retired government servants, with 64 per cent from the elite IAS.

Read the detailed Opinion originally posted here!

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