RTI RESPONSIVENESS AMONG STATES

  • The State Information Commission of Tamil Nadu has been the worst performing in responsiveness under the Right to Information Act, furnishing only 14% of the information sought.
  • Maharashtra was the second worst, sharing 23% of the information asked for, according to a report card on the performance of Information Commissions (ICs) in India for 2021-22 by the SatarkNagrikSangathan.
  • Only 10 ICs provided full information in response to the RTI applications filed as part of this assessment. These included Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand and the northeastern States of Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura.
  • The organisation said that as part of the assessment, in order to access information about the functioning of ICs, it filed RTI applications with the 28 State Information Commissions (SICs) and the Central Information Commission (CIC).
  • “A total of 145 RTI applications were filed seeking identical information from all the 29 ICs. The RTI applications were tracked to assess how each IC performed as a public authority, in terms of maintaining and disclosing information,” it said.
  • “The SIC of Tamil Nadu was the worst performing as it denied most of the information sought, including regarding the number of appeals and complaints dealt with by the IC, details of penalty imposed and compensation awarded stating that the information could be provided only ‘after getting the approval of State Legislative Assembly’,” though no such provision exists in the RTI Act.
  • No orders passed
  • The SIC of Chhattisgarh denied information on several points stating that under the prevailing State rules, in one application, information on only one topic could be sought, while the SIC of Bihar, which failed to provide any information under the RTI Act for the assessments published in 2020 and 2021, significantly improved its performance and furnished 67% of the information that was sought.
  • The report card further said that a large number of ICs across the country were returning cases without passing orders. Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh returned around 40% of the appeals or complaints received by them.
  • Of the 18 Information Commissioners who provided relevant information, the assessment found that 11 returned appeals or complaints without passing any orders.
  • It also found that several ICs have an extremely low rate of disposal per commissioner. Of all the 29 ICs, only the CIC has adopted a norm on the number of appeals or complaints to be disposed of by each commissioner in one year.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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