A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that there are 26 complaints against six information commissioners in the state.
After a bad experience with an information commissioner, activist Nainesh Dolas wrote to Governor S.C. Jamir, complaining about the working of the state information commissioners. The letter stated that the state information commissioner’s office staff did not maintain records properly. It also said that the Mumbai and Konkan divisions do not have proper appeal transfer process.
The governor has assured necessary action against the erring commissioners.
“Though RTI is meant to reduce red tape, the information commissioners themselves delay pending matters,” Dolas told Hindustan Times.
Stuck in the process, the agitated citizens then expressed their discontent by filing complaints with the state governor.
The details of the complaints filed against information commissioners are — three complaints against State Information Commissioner, Suresh Joshi, four complaints against Naveen Kumar from Konkan, eight complaints against Vijay Kuvalekar from Pune, five complaints against Boraje from Aurangabad, three complaints against Vilas Patil of Nagpur and three complaints against Ramanand Tiwari from Mumbai.
Activists G.R. Vora and Krishnaraj Rao said that improper functioning of the information commissioners hampered the proper implementation of the sunshine act.
As per the Act, once an RTI is filed, the procedure of seeking information should not take more than 270 days. However, the activists allege that in some cases the RTI queries remained unanswered even after 400 days.
The activists added that public information officers in respective offices were not fined even after they were found guilty by the first appellate officer for not providing required information in the stipulated time.
This inefficiency gains significance with 4.16 lakh applications received in Maharashtra in the last one year — 63,000 of them directed to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The Act was introduced in Maharashtra in 2002 after relentless efforts of social activist Anna Hazare.
On October 12, 2005, the Union government enacted a legislation making RTI applicable across India.