The increasing number of pending appeals (22,000) at the state information commission offices and four vacant state information commissioner posts has become a major concern for RTI activists as the commission’s work is getting affected.
Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, in his letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, pointed out the weakening transparency law in the state because of the absence of a concerned authority.
“Presently, there are no Information Commissioners for Mumbai headquarters, Greater Mumbai, Konkan and Pune. The pending appeals are mounting and if urgent steps are not taken, RTI will suffer a grievous blow. Most of the cases take around a year to be decided. By inaction and allowing pendencies to mount, RTI could become dysfunctional and ineffective,” said Gandhi in his letter.
Hindustan Times (HT) has earlier reported about the need to appoint state information commissioners because of an increasing number of pending appeals.
Presently, four state commissioner posts are vacant. There has been no replacement for Dr. Suresh Joshi (six months), Ramanand Tiwari (over nine months), Naveen Kumar (six months) and Vijay Kuvalekar (over one month).
“Currently, among four information commissioners are sharing charge of eight information commissions. I have additional charge of both Mumbai headquarters and Greater Mumbai. Like me, even other commissioners have additional charges and burdened with more work. We hope soon the information commissioners are appointed so that we can concentrate only on our respective districts,” said Bhaskarao T Patil, Amravati information commissioner and in charge Mumbai Chief Information Commission (CIC).