To dispose of pending Right To Information (RTI) appeals, state information commissioner Vijay Kuvalekar will hold Special Appeal Disposal Programme at Ramnath Anandilal Podar Medical College (Ayurved) in Worli on January 4, 5 and 6.
Till November 30, more than 19,000 appeals were pending with the state information commission office. Almost 2,200-2,500 new appeals are filed in the state every month.
“As part of this programme, the appellant, public information officer (PIO) and first appellate authority will be brought on one dais to discuss the appeal. We would only supervise the interaction without intervening,” said Kuvalekar, who holds the additional charge of chief state information commissioner.
Six hundred appeals filed at Mumbai headquarters would be heard at the programme.
“We have sent notices to the 600 appellants, PIO and first appellate authorities about the programme. The appellants as well as the authorities would get the documents pertaining to the cases that will be heard at the programme,” said Kuvalekar.
At the end of the session, all of them will have to fill a form, which would state the outcome of the discussion and specify if there is a need for further hearing. “I have organised such programme in Pune. Nearly 30-35% cases have been resolved due to it,” he added.
RTI activists feel that instead of organising such a programme, information commissioners should take stringent action against PIOs delaying the provision of information.
“From 2005-2008, of the 17,336 appeals disposed under section 19 (3) and 18 (1) related to delay in provision of information by the PIO, only 146 from Mumbai region have been penalised. Information commissioners are lenient with the PIOs. Consequently, they don’t refrain from holding back the information for years,” said Vihar Durve, RTI activist.