Appellants in quasi-judicial bodies normally find it difficult to track the status of their applications. The Central Information Commission has found a way out to help appellants track status of their applications.
The transparency watchdog has decided to list status of all pending cases on its website to help the applicants find the reasons for why their appeal was not taken up while those of others were considered.
There had been instances when RTI applicants had complained that their appeals have not been considered for more than two years even though the CIC had resolved a period of 90 days from filing of application to taking up the appeal.
Last year, an RTI appellant filed a compliant with Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who found that his office had failed to take some of the appeals that were filed more than a year ago.
“It may have happened because of sheer inefficiency or over-sight in office,” said Gandhi, who decides most number of appeals among information commissioners in the CIC.
An RTI applicant Rajesh Garg expressed his unhappiness, saying many times, appeals get misplaced in the commission and the applicant has no clue about it till the applicant conducts personal enquiries about the appeal.
It was then that Gandhi decided to prepare a status report of the appeals filed with his office and found that many appeals have been erroneously missed. Gandhi took up the older cases on priority and started disposing them off.
The issue was discussed at the last meeting of the information commission where it was resolved that all information commissioners will prepare a status reporting on pending appeals and place it on the CIC’s website.
To start with, Gandhi and Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra had put the status report and others are expected to follow suit.
The CIC is apparently the first quasi-judicial body to list the status of pending cases and Gandhi believes that it would prompt the state information commissions to adopt the practise.
There is also some good news for the senior citizens and the disabled. The CIC has decided to take up their cases on priority and give reasons for doing the same. The office of each information commissioner has been instructed to place their cases for consideration.