Chief Information Commissioner deserves appreciation for improving administrative-functioning at the earlier highly mismanaged institution. However quality of disposal of RTI petitions and subsequent first appeals filed at Central Information Commission (CIC) in its capacity as public-authority still is far below expectation. CIC as public-authority should be an ideal one ensuring that need may not arise that CIC may have to hear second appeals filed against CIC itself!
A look at CIC-verdicts given by the three newly appointed Commissioners at CIC and experience in attending hearings before them reveals their worth of being appointed at the responsible posts. However it will be advisable that strict strictures may be passed against petitioners found misusing of transparency-Act like has been done by some Commissioners, so as to discourage misuse of RTI Act.
Even Delhi High Court in its verdicts like ‘Shail Sahni vs Sanjeev Kumar & others’ (WPC 845/2014 decision-dated 05.02.2014) and ‘Rajni Mendiratta vs PIO, Directorate of Education North-West B” (WPC 7911/2015 decision-dated 08.10.2015) has upheld CIC-verdicts pointing against misuse of RTI Act by some habitual petitioners. Surprisingly such petitioners continue filing RTI petitions and getting strictures passed from CIC again and again even after verdicts from Delhi High Court against them for misusing RTI Act.
Verdicts from CIC and courts against misuse of RTI Act should be circulated amongst all Commissioners at CIC for their reference. Including copying charges for first twenty copied documents in basic RTI fees to make it rupees fifty can prevent mischievous RTI petitions like seeking gender of a Minister! CIC should seriously take up matter of issuing RTI stamps with DoPT and Department of Posts.
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
1775 Kucha Lattushah
Dariba, Chandni Chowk
Delhi 110006 (India)