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Atul Patankar

RTI Act may become ineffective in the long run

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Vijy B at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on May 7, 2011


MUMBAI: RTI activists are worried about the low disposal rates of various central information commissioners and say this may make the Right to Information (RTI) act ineffective in the long run.


The nine central information commissioners disposed 23, 575 RTI appeals last year with an average of 2,619 appeals per commissioner. Activists say that if the pendency of appeals have to come down then the information commissioners have to increase their disposal rates by at least 3,500 appeals per month.


Over 15,000 RTI appeals are pending with the Central Information Commission(CIC) to be disposed and RTI activists say many appeals are heard after over a year.


"After a year, the purpose for which the RTI query was filed goes away and RTI applicants would have to resort to other means to get information and they may lose faith in the act itself,'' said Bhaskar Prabhu, convener of Mahiti Adhikar Manch.


He said but some information commissioners like Shailesh Gandhi and Annapurna Dixit have better disposal rates.


"Shailesh Gandhi topped the list with 4,599 disposal and Annapurna Dixit came second with 3,965 disposals,'' Prabhu said.


CIC officials said they have been facing staff shortage like adequate number of stenographers and law officers. "We have been asking the department of personnel to provide us more staff so that once the order has been passed it can be typed and the process can be completed without any delay. We also need more clerks who can look into the complaints and appeals that we receive every day and keep the drafts ready for hearing,'' the CIC official said.


Activists said the five year old RTI act has not only changed the lives of millions of people but exposed several scams like the multi-crore housing scam Adarsh scam in Maharashtra.


" We need to sort this issue out for the survival of the act,'' RTI activist Vihar Durve said.

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