The government has told transparency watchdog Central Information Commission that it could function only through multiple member benches and not through single or double information commissioners hearing RTI appeal cases.
The RTI appeal cases are heard by an information commissioner and it is only in rare cases the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) constitutes multiple level benches to hear the cases.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal office for RTI in the central government, had earlier this month asked CIC to dispense with the present system and ensure that benches, having several commissioners hear the cases.
This came a few days after the DoPT had relented to the CIC view, after three years of wrangling, that file noting were part of RTI information to be disclosed.
If the DoPT’s direction is implemented, the slow pace of disposal of RTI appeal cases will further slow down. In the three years of the RTI law, there are 40,000 cases are pending with the CIC. Normally, it takes three to six months for an RTI appeal to be heard with CIC, after waiting for months to get a response to a RTI application from the government.