There are 3700 cases pertaining to Right to Information Act pending with Maharashtra's Pune Division alone. Delays that threaten to derail the democratic process, but Pune is attempting to fast track this right.
Minajuddin Qazi taught in an Urdu school in Solapur for ten years when his job was terminated for no apparent reason.
Qazi filed an RTI application in June 2006, but didn't help bringing justice soon.
But now to justice has been fast-track where there's a public forum in Pune where members of the public get to meet the information officers at a two-month-long Special Appeals Disposable Program.
Vijay Kuwalekar, Information Commissioner said, ''We organised this programme because 3000 appeals were pending. The backlog sets a bad precedent.''
So in true letter and spirit of the RTI Act, 300 appeals were disposed of in just two days. Something will cut down on justice disposal time for each appeal from a year to just four months.
The program a little idealistic but if successful will not set an example for other information commissioners and save the true meaning of RTI Act itself.
Pune, April 02 After successfully disposing off 196 cases in first of its kind two-day fast track sitting to bring down the large backlog of pending appeals of Right to Information (RTI), the State Information Commission office of Pune division is planning to undertake similar programmes executed at division-level for district-level from next month. "The information commission carried fast track hearing for 278 appeals filed with it and resolved 197 of them in two days," Information commissioner (Pune Division) Vijay Kuvalekar told The Indian Express on Monday.
He said the applicants along with the information officers were called for the hearing in numbers to dispose of the cases at Council Hall recently. The program undertaken on experimental basis heard pending appeals filed between October 2005 and September 2006 in the fast track.
The remaining pending 81 appeals due to absence of applicants or no consensus between the applicant and information officer will be disposed soon and hearing will be carried out only for eligible appeals, Kuvalekar said
"There was a good response to the fast track program," he said, adding, "Many of the applicants from other districts were unable to appear for the hearing and have demanded to conduct the same at their respective districts." The Pune division caters to the appeals from Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur districts.
However, the idea of fast track program was undertaken to bring down the backlog of pending appeals to six months, Kuvalekar said.
There are around 3,200 RTI appeals pending with his office and the plans are to resolve them at a faster speed, he said adding, "There are 1,600 appeals filed between October 2006 to September 2007 pending of Pune division and the district level fast track hearing plans to dispose of these in the month of May."
The Information Commission is on the look out of a hall in each district that would accommodate a large number of people appearing for the hearing and also ensuring necessary assist staff to help to carry out the fast track program, Kuvalekar added.
He said the Information commission office will also provide training to the assist staff of every district for effective .