Personal appearance will enable you to project your case in a better manner, especially if you had missed any point in your original complaint or if you have discovered any new point in support of your contentions. You should remember that it provides you a due opportunity to present your case in the best possible manner.
If you find that the distance and travel makes it a costly process, you can think of attending the hearing through the tele-conferencing mode from the nearest NIC studio.
Under section 18(3) of RTI ACT 2005, CIC is empowered like a Judge in Civil Court while trying a suit under Civil Procedure Code. You have not just "asked" to attend - you should treat as "being summoned" by a Judge of the court. You must attend.
As ganpat1956 has suggested, such personal attendance will help you to give any late or fresh discovery of material fact related to your case u/s 18(3)(b) of RTI ACT 2005.
I disagree that you are "being summoned" to appear. If you look at the CIC decisions on its web site, you will find that in a substantial number of cases the petitioner is not there, either in person or on video conference.
You DO NOT have to appear. However it is better to appear and present your case, answer any questions the commissioner has, and to rebut any argument made by the opposing party.
Suppose some one is unable to attend personally due to some reason may be monetary, family problems or any thing else and tele conferencing facility is not there. Whether his appeal will be treated as ex-parte??
The dictionary meaning of "ex parte" is one sided point of view. But in actual practice like CIC hearings, the decision of the appeal will be made duly taking into account the earlier submissions that have been made by the appellant, though he gives up the opportunity of putting forth any further clarification that the CIC may require.
You have gone through the Application Stage and the First Appeal stage.
Why do you want to give up now ?
Look at this as a Golden Opportunity !
How many citizens of this country will have the opportunity to appear in person before the CIC in a matter relating to RTI ?
It will be a good experience for you.
If I were in your place , I would never miss this opportunity.
There are other members of this forum (I can immediately think of Mr Anuj Dhar of Netaji Mission) who have appeared before the CIC. You can definitely take their guidance and advise before you go and that will give you more confidence.
If you do appear, please share the experience with us. It will give members like me a chance to get a first hand account and add to our RTI knowledge.
Unless you have compelling reasons for not going, please try to go.
Certainly I (in the present circumstances) will not miss the oppurtunity, but I put the query because there may be situation where one may not ( not myself) appear, suppose a person is too old to travel, there is some mishap in the family, there may be shortage of money or any other circumstances where one may not be able to appear the appeal, I liked know what will be fate of the appeal.