Over 24,000 cases pending in CIC as on Oct 31

RSTV Bureau

Over 24,000 cases under the Right to Information (RTI) Act are pending with Central Information Commission as on October 31 even as the posts of its Chief and three deputies remain vacant.

More than 24,150 complaints and second appeals are pending with CIC as on October 31, said a data compiled by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak.

The pendency was 18,998 such cases as on January 1, this year, it said.

CIC is working without its chief for over two months, apparently due to the absence of a Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, who is supposed to be on the selection committee for finding a nominee for the post.

Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur completed his tenure on August 22.

There is also a vacancy of three Information Commissioners in the transparency panel. There are seven Information Commissioners–Vijai Sharma, Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi and Prof Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu–against its strength of 10.

“Between January and October this year, no Information Commissioner has maintained a consistent average disposal rate of 267 cases per month. In 2011, CIC had this target for itself.

“However during this 10-month period, M Sridhar Acharyulu met or exceeded this target four times, Yashovardhan Azad twice, and Vijai Sharma and Basant Seth only once each. The remaining three Information Commissioners have not been able to reach this target even once,” said the compilation.

The average daily disposal rate of cases by Information Commissioners has been between 7 and 11, it said.

Nayak said that CIC’s own statistics indicates that the workload is unevenly distributed amongst the Information Commissioners. “There is an urgent need to reallocate the departments amongst them to increase their output,” he said.

Nayak, who works with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), asked the government to immediately fill the vacancies in CIC.

The government had late last month sought applications from eligible candidates for the post of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners. The last date for sending application is November 24.