Pending cases choke info panel
With a conservative increase of about 10% per year in number of appeals and complaints, the Central Information Commission (CIC) would be staring at a massive 80,000 plus such cases in the next five years.delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2012 23:35 IST
With a conservative increase of about 10% per year in number of appeals and complaints, the Central Information Commission (CIC) would be staring at a massive 80,000 plus such cases in the next five years.
And this figure would be the minimum best assuming that 10 commissioners (ICs) clear about 3,500 cases a year, sources within the CIC said.
The commission is already facing pendancy of close to 28,000 appeals and cases as on 2012, more than double from 13,500 in 2010.
Though three posts of ICs, vacant till recently, have been filled, there has been no work distribution yet. Two more ICs are in the process of being appointed.
“(But) the major reason is the way we deal with each appeal/complaint. Except for issuing notices and filing, the current staff is of no use directly for any hearing. We need legally trained people to assist ICs,” Satyananda Mishra, chief information commissioner, told Hindustan Times.
IC Shailesh Gandhi has already been using this model taking help of volunteers. “It has worked in his case. But not all can seek volunteer help. So we have written to the government to appoint at least two legally trained staff per commissioner,” Mishra said.
Gandhi said, “If the ICs start disposing of matters in 60-90 days, public information officers (PIOs) would be under pressure to give information on time.” This can be a way of keeping the PIOs in check and thus reduce the number of appeals reaching the commission.”
Subhash Agrawal, an activist, said he had suggested the commission to hear on any given day cases pertaining to a single public authority.
“Some commissioners have already started practicing it. It has doubled the disposal of cases and saves on time, manpower and conveyance expenditure,” he said.