Right to Information Act

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News: Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India has been released

Facts:

About the Study

  • The ‘Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India’ was prepared by the Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the Centre for Equity Studies.
  • It analysed information from 22 commissions, which disposed of almost 1.17 lakh cases in that time period.

Highlights of the Study

  • State and Central Information Commissions, which are the courts of appeal under the RTI Act, failed to impose penalties in about 97% of the cases where violations took place in 2018-19.
  • The State Commissions of Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura did not impose penalties in any cases at all.
  • Apart from fines, the commissions also have the power to recommend disciplinary action against officials for persistent violations of the RTI Act. Only 10 states invoked these powers.
  • The commissions have an increasing workload, which is leading to a huge pendency of cases. There were 2.18 lakh cases pending with the commissions in March 2019, in comparison with 1.85 lakh pending cases a year earlier.

Additional Information

Right to Information Act, 2005:

  • RTI Act provides for timely disclosure of information by citizens from both central and State Public Authorities. It seeks to empower citizens and promote accountability and transparency.
  • Under the Act, Public Authorities are required to make disclosures on various aspects of their structure and functioning.  This includes
    • disclosure on their organisation
    • functions and structure
    • powers and duties of its officers and employees and
    • Financial information.

Central Information Commission:

  • It is a statutory body established under RTI Act, 2005. It is constituted by central government.
  • It consists of the Central Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information commissioners.
  • The President of India appoints the Chief Information commissioner and the information commissioners on the recommendation of the committee consisting of the Prime Minister as chairperson, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and one union cabinet ministers nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • The Chief Information commissioner (CIC) and an information commissioner holds office for five years or until they attain the age of 65 years. CIC is not eligible for reappointment. CIC submits its report to parliament.

State Information Commission

  • It is a statutory body established under RTI Act, 2005. It is constituted by state government.
  • It consists of the Central Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information commissioners.
  • The Governor of State appoints the State Information commissioner and the information commissioners on the recommendation of the committee consisting of the Chief Minister as chairperson, the leader of the opposition in the state Legislative Assembly and one state cabinet ministers nominated by the Prime Minister.