State chief information commissioner (CIC) Ratnakar Gaikwad and former central information commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi has approached chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to fill three of the eight posts of information commissioners lying vacant.
The last post to be vacated was that of the information commissioner of Nashik on October 15. Other vacancies are in Aurangabad and Amravati.
“Currently, three posts of are vacant and the pendency of RTI pleas is 8,900 in Nashik, 5,324 in Aurangabad and 9,578 in Amravati. Every month, we receive 400 fresh RTI applications. Considering the increasing number of pendencies, the vacant posts can affect the information commission’s work adversely,” said Gaikwad, in his letter to the chief minister.
Raising similar concern Shailesh Gandhi, in his letter, said the Maharashtra Information Commission is being pushed into becoming dysfunctional and irrelevant due to carelessness of the government.
It further stated the RTI Act envisages a maximum number of eleven information commissioners in a state, whereas Maharashtra has only eight ICs, who are barely able to cope with the increasing number of applications being filed.
“Across the nation most commissioners dispose of around 3,000 cases a year. Maharashtra commissioners dispose of about 4,500 cases a year. Despite this, in some of the benches, the pendency is more than two years. Unless commissions dispose of cases in less than three months, they will stop being able to service the average citizen,” Gandhi said in the letter.