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Atul Patankar

As reported at zeenews.india.com on January 20, 2012


Chennai: Citing mounting pendency of cases involving RTI appeals and disputes due to manpower shortage, the Central Information Commission has requested the Centre to appoint more Information Commissioners, a top official said on Friday.


"We have requested the Government of India to appoint more Information Commissioners. We are also trying to evolve methods by which we can increase the number of disposals," Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra told reporters here on the sidelines of a workshop on RTI Act.


Five posts of Information Commissioners were still vacant and "we need much more manpower", he said. The CIC was having only 160 employees, and it was "not a adequate, sufficient number," he said, adding due to this cases were taking eight to 10 months to come up, against ideal time of three months. "If it is more than three months, in our opinion, it is pointless."


He said every month CIC was receiving over 2,300 cases, while it was clearing only 1,800, resulting in backlog. Mishra said over 23,000 cases were pending with the CIC alone besides those before various state information commissions.


He also said the CIC had started posting details about the number of pending cases at the end of every month on its website. "We have already started. Other Commissioners will also be doing so."


Clearing concerns that the RTI Act was being misused, he said, "My personal experience in the last three years in the Central Information Commission is that the instances of misuse of RTI act is absolutely infinitely small.. There were overwhelmingly large number of cases with genuine reasons."

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The pendency figures as available on the CIC website, as of end December 2011 is 26049

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As reported by PTI in news.outlookindia.com on 20 Jan 2012:

news.outlookindia.com | Lokpal Bill Bound to Come: CIC


Lokpal Bill Bound to Come: CIC


Observing that the people "had lost faith and trust in the government," the Chief Information Commissioner today said that the Lokpal Bill was "bound to come" and predicted it would come under focus in the forthcoming budget session in Parliament.


"Lokpal or the Jan Lokpal..Is likely to again spring back to the central stage as soon as the Budget Session is announced...It is bound to come because the people have lost faith, trust in the government. Not so much in the government, but in the government servants," Satyanand Mishra, Chief Information Commissioner, said while addressing a workshop on RTI Act here.


"Most people do not believe that the people in the government are doing the right thing or doing things objectively. (That they are) doing things without a hope of some illegal gratification," he said.


Holding that Lokpal was an "insistent demand," the CIC said, "Because people have this kind of a belief, almost across the board that the people in the government, so therefore there is an insistent demand that there must be an ombudsman who should completely independently be there, and if a complaint comes, and should spring on you like a tonne of bricks and bring you to book".


"Lokpal is a very important institution. I hope that some day, it will come," Mishra said.

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As reported in asianage.com on 21 Jan 2012:

RTI application to be filed online | The Asian Age


RTI application to be filed online


Very soon, you can file your RTI applications online. Speaking at a RTI workshop organised by Neyveli Lignite Corporation and Institute of Public Enterprise here on Friday, chief information commissioner Satyan-anda Mishra said he has recommended to the government to provide the facility for applicants to send RTI queries online to all government departments. He mentioned that the Delhi Municipal Corporation has already introduced the facility.


The chief information commission (CIC) now posts the status of pendancy of RTI appeals on its website.


Speaking on the opening day of the two-day conference, Mr Mishra said one million RTI appeals were filed in the last six years with the CIC.


“Many think that the RTI Act is used extensively. But the pace of progress in RTI usage is not satisfactory. Considering the huge government structure we have, the usage of RTI by the public is less,” he said. He urged the government departments to improve maintenance of records. “Public information officers in government offices should be happy to provide information to applicants.


Good cataloguing and indexing of records are essential to find the right information for a query within short time,” he said.

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As reported in ibnlive.in.com on 21 Jan 2012:

Beware of Lokpal, CIC to government staff - southindia - Chennai - ibnlive


Beware of Lokpal, CIC to government staff


CHENNAI: Beware of Lokpal, implement the Right to Information (RTI)� Act in letter and spirit, Chief Information Commissioner of the Central Information Comission warned government servants. Delivering the inaugural address of a two-day workshop on ‘Right to Information Act 2005’,� organized by the Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) Hyderabad and the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC)� here on Friday, CIC Satyananda Mishra said that Lokpal was likely to assume centrestage during the budget session as people had lost faith in government institutions and government servants.


“People who don’t believe government servants are doing things objectively. There is an persistent demand for an ombudsman who should be completely independent and bring the guilty to book,” he said. “So, if you want to save yourselves as so much irregularities are going on in the government, then RTI should be implemented in letter and spirit as it is the antidote for corruption,” he observed.


Urging government officials and public sector units to be transparent in providing information, he said record-keeping, cataloging and indexing and continuous proactive disclosure were essential while providing information.


He also pulled up public information officers for not providing the information sought by applicants.

“When the applicant is asking for information, you are not required to give your opinion. Provide him with the piece of information which he is seeking instead of interpreting it. Give him the photocopy of the record and not anything in writing,” he added.


He also rejected the theory that RTI has been misused. “I feel the instances of misuse of RTI Act is infinitely small and there are large number of cases with genuine reasons,” he said, while defending the Act.


“The information people want can’t be regulated at all,” he added.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at ibnlive.in.com on Jan 21, 2012


CHENNAI: Lack of adequate staff has hit the Central Information Commission, resulting in about 23,000 pending Right to Information (RTI) appeals, according to Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating a two-day workshop on ‘Right to information Act 2005’, jointly organized by the Institute of Public Enterprise and the NLC on Friday, he said the CIC had only six commissioners against the required strength of 11.“Currently, each one is clearing 300 appeals a month, which works out to 1,800 appeals a month as against the input of 2,300 cases,” Mishra said.

Hence, “cases are taking about eight to 10 months to be decided,” Mishra said. To a query on the recent directive by the CIC to the President’s Secretariat to disclose details of correspondence among various ministries and Delhi Police on black money, he said the correspondence had been made public but the information seeker had not got back.

Mishra also said none of the public sectors or the bank agencies had made pro-active disclosures, which were mandatory under the� RTI Act. The� CIC� has also started uploading the pending complaints. “Other Commissioners will be doing so soon,” he added.

The Commission has, till now, received over 1 million RTI applications.

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As reported by Himanshi Dhawan in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 22 Jan 2012:

With 26k cases due, CIC losing relevance - The Times of India


With 26k cases due, CIC losing relevance


NEW DELHI: With an addition of nearly 2,500 complaints every month, the Central Information Commission (CIC), which has an astounding 26,049 pending cases is well on its way to becoming redundant. The reason: the CIC disposed off 22,414 cases last year, which means that there is a pendency of 14 months for every appeal and complaint making the information received by the applicant outdated and often useless.


Commission chief Satyananda Mishra expressed concern saying, "If the pendency continues increasing, the waiting period will also increase. We are very concerned and will have to think of radical ways to tackle the problem. One of the issues that we will discuss is `summary disposal' of cases through just speaking orders to save time."


The CIC has six information commissioners, including its chief, though it has a sanctioned strength of 10. One of the first tasks undertaken by Mishra on taking over was to write to the government asking for more commissioners keeping in view the large number of cases coming to the CIC. However, there has been little progress in ramping up the strength so far.


RTI activists are concerned and have been vocal in their disapproval of the long waiting time. One prominent RTI activist, who did not wish to be named, said, "The hearing for a case where I had sought information took place three months ago and in fact only the formal order had to be issued since I was given the impression that the decision had been taken. However, I have still not heard from the office of the information commissioner.


Prof Rajeev Kumar, formerly with IIT-Kharagpur, said that he had sought information on IIT-Madras in 2010 and only managed to get hearing in September, 2011. "I received the order after three months in December, 2011 and even then the institute gave me only part of the information. It was of no use. Despite the long delay the no penalty was charged. CIC has become infructuous," Kumar said.


Sources said that some cases as old as 2006 were still pending before the Commission with no action being taken.

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Justice delayed , justice denied.

2,500 complaints every month, 26,000 pending cases & in addition to that Complaints/appeals get missed due to mismanagement of inward registry!

PIOs colluding with FAAs can use this opportunity to deny information using sec8. For a dishonest PIO, it is easier to deny rather than searching for information. Let the appellant wait for years to get simple information! Nothing goes against PIO, if he repeatedly does so (unless proved malafidely). At the most, he will be ordered to provide information.

So, along with more ICs, RTI should be amended to punish such 'habitual information denying' PIOs, to reduce the pendency.

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