By 2015, India’s transparency watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), aims to dispose of 95% appeals within 120 days of filing.
According to a draft citizens’ charter, which the commission would be adopting next week, this is one of its goals.
On Wednesday, the government introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha for a mandatory citizens' charter. Under it, a charter would be prepared for each government department, prescribing their duties and timeline for delivery of service.
The CIC, which is mandated to hear appeals of denial of information under the RTI Act, has prepared its own charter.
Once it is adopted, the CIC will become one of the first Central government organisations to list a timeline for delivering services.
Drawn up by information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, the charter sets 2015 as a deadline to achieve timely disposal of 95% appeals.
This is meant to address the complaints of RTI applicants that the commission takes over a year to dispose of appeals, as a result of which, the information sought becomes redundant.
“Appellants and complainants will be given acknowledgement of their appeals or complaints within 30 days,” the charter said.
The charter also said non-compliance of orders should be brought below five per cent. And the commission aims to push government departments to disclose information suo motu.
There are plans to set up an advisory council as well, comprising citizens’ representatives and government officials, to suggest ways to provide better services. There will also be a helpline through which citizens can seek clarifications on the RTI Act.