Let Us Know The Act - Interdependence of CIC and SICs
The Right to Information Act is a unique legislation unparallel to any other enactments. Naturally one is bound to come across conflicting views on its interpretation. Some of the fetures like shifting of onus to prove from the Appellant to Respondent has already been discussed in this forum. There are many other similar features which need an open discussion in forums like this.
To start with, let us consider Interdependence if any of CIC and SICs.
One is bound to consider that the CIC being under the Central Government and the SICs under the State, the CIC is an authority superior to SIC. Of cource, by virtue of vast jurisdiction the CIC is given higher status as per protocall but defenity not a superior authority having any jurisdiction over SICs. The cituation has been worsened by the CIC himself when he held a Conference of Information Commissioners on 17-10-2007 in the guise of "Information Commissioner's Conference." The CIC/SICs themselves appeared ignorant of existence of separate Chapters and Sections in the RTI Act which stipulate their independent functions. Section 12, 13 & 14 deals with the Central Information Commission and Section 15, 16 and 17 on State Information Commission. No where these sections lays down any interdependence of these two functionaries. When theCIC's conference was organised, I myself had appraised this aspect directly to the CIC. As part of the correspondence the CIC has made an attempt to establish his supramacy quotting an extract from Section 12(4) of the Act out of context pleading that the Act states "..... the Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the Information Commissioner and may exercise all such powrs and do all such acts et., etc., ....." thereby claiming that all Information Commissioners are required to assist the CIC and naturally all the Information Commissioners (including the State Information Commissioners) are under the CIC. Of cource he should neither deny nofr withstand when it was projected that these provisions pertains to Section 12,13 and 14 delaing with CIC only and not the Information Commissioners covered in Section 15, 16 and 17. Anyway the CIC could not press the issue further and it stand as such. However I l maintain that these two are not interdependent and one's orders are not binding on other. Any opinion on the contra ?