Set up system to process RTI in passport offices: CIC
NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Centre to set up a regular system of processing Right to Information applications filed in the regional passport offices within a month.
The CIC's direction to the Ministry of External Affairs came on a recent order where the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Delhi was found negligent for losing track of an RTI plea of one Deepankar Jain, who had sought to know details about daily progress made in respect of his passport application.
"The department (passport) needs to establish a regular system of processing RTI applications since it is a public authority with wide public interaction, which would necessarily invite information applications that requires to be dealt strictly in accordance with the law," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.
Often found guilty of irregular servicing of applications under the transparency law, Habibullah has asked Joint Secretary (Consular Passport and Visa), MEA, K S Sodhi to institute a system ensuring a regular servicing of RTI pleas within a month that could be adopted by all RPOs.
In this particular case, a Delhi-resident Jain moved the Commission after being denied a reply from the regional passport office in respect of his RTI plea seeking daily progress relating to his passport application.
In his RTI application filed in July 2006, Jain sought details about progress made into his pending passport application submitted on April eight, 2004.
On not receiving any response in respect to his application for over six months, Jain moved the Commission on February 23 last year. Appearing before the CIC, the then information officer at RPO, Gloria Kumar, said that Jain's RTI application could not be found in the records at the passport office.