Activists have long been crying hoarse over increasing number of pending cases with the Central Information Commission (CIC).
But now, thanks to an RTI application, the Commission itself has admitted that there are whopping 7068 cases pending with it.
In reply to an RTI query by A.N. Prasad, an activist associated with NGO Joint Operation for Social Help (JOSH), the Commission has said that it received a total of 21,327 complaints and appeals during January to December 2009.
“The commissioner-wise pendency is not maintained. However, the total pendency as reported in the commission is tentatively 7068,” the reply said.
The commission also informed that it disposed of 19,567 appeals and complaints during the same period.
“I wanted the stakeholders to know about the ground situation. The Prime Minister and also (UPA chairperson) Sonia Gandhi have been harping on various platforms about how the RTI has helped a common man. But at the end of the day, what is happening at the CIC itself? Prasad asked.
The government’s own record show more or less the same levels of pendency for previous years.
In July 2009, the government had informed the Lok Sabha that the number of pending cases in March 2008-April 2009 duration were 8925.
The figures for 2007-08 and 2006-07 were 6820 and 3247.
Central Information Commission Wajahat Habibullah had told HT in an interview last week that the high number of pending cases was mainly due to bulk of Delhi cases pending with him.
“Now (Information Commissioner) Shailesh Gandhi is looking after Delhi and he has cleared a lot of backlog,” Habibullah had maintained.
Another RTI activist Vibhav Kumar from NGO Kabir, pointed out: “The issue is not just clearing pending cases. What is important is the appellant should get information. Sadly, this is not always the case.”