<table style="width: 759px; height: 1618px;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="headline">Central Information commission vacation plan to cripple Right to Information
Just when the right to information (RTI) was turning into a revolution of sorts in India, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has decided to apply brakes. It notified new rules - Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2007 - on Thursday that make it more difficult for the common man to complain against errant Officers wrongfully withholding information.
</td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top"></td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">This is not all. Your right to information would have to take a vacation - twice a year. At a time when there is a raging debate over doing away with the judiciary's vacations, the CIC has gone ahead and granted itself two full vacations. During June-July the summer break would be between two and four weeks. This would be topped by a two-week winter vacation. Section 6 of Chapter III lays down: "The commission may have summer vacation of two to four weeks during June-July and a winter vacation of two weeks during December-January, as notified by the CIC... The Chief Information Commissioner may make appropriate arrangements to deal with matters of urgent nature during vacations."
</td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top"></td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">It is Chapter IV "Registration, Abatement or Return of Appeal", however, that seems to have introduced a bureaucratic style in filing appeals and complaints. At a time when State Information Commissions are trying to make it simpler for the applicants to file appeals, CIC has made it more difficult. Now the applicants would have to "type, print or write neatly and legibly and in double line spacing" to file an appeal in the CIC. If there are any errors in the application, the registrar would point them out to the applicant and give him only two weeks to rectify them. In case, these are not rectified within the time period, the application would be considered withdrawn by the applicant and the CIC would not consider it.
</td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top"></td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">RTI activist and Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal said: "This is a step backwards. With these rules, CIC has introduced a complicated way to file appeals. You need to be an advocate for this. Forget the common man, even we won't be able to file appeals."
</td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top"></td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">There is more bad news. There is a long list of documents that would need to be attached with the appeal. The most peculiar requirement is that of "Service of Copies of Appeal/Complaint". Before submitting an appeal or complaint to CIC, an applicant would have to send its copy to the public information officer (PIO) and the appellate authority. He would need to attach a copy of the acknowledgement. Kejriwal said: "Why would a PIO who is refusing to accept an RTI application acknowledge this complaint or appeal? This is a system, which is in use in high courts. RTI is a tool for the common man. Why is the information being pushed away from him?"
</td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top"></td></tr><tr><td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">Interestingly, Bihar State Information Commission has taken a revolutionary step in the field of RTI Act. In Bihar, the common man can file and appeal or complaint over the phone. The applicant's voice becomes his appeal. This has triggered an unprecedented response from the people as it has made the process simpler.
<table align="justify" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="429"><tbody><tr><td class="ld"> RTI applications before CIC to undergo greater scrutiny </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="15">
</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="kicker"> New Delhi, June 22: All Right To Information applications before the Central Information Commission (CIC) will now undergo strict scrutiny before they are taken up for hearing.
The Commission, in a notification passed yesterday, has laid down regulations on complying to a process of scrutiny of RTI applications before they are forwarded to the concerned information commissioners.
The procedures as laid down in the Central Information Commission (management) regulations, 2007 states that the CIC's registrar will look into the maintainability of every RTI application.
The regulations bring greater delegation of authority to the Commission's registrar to decide on the fate of an information application.
They new terms seem important especially with the CIC clearly voicing its concern, in a number of its earlier decisions, on the growing number of "frivolous and inconsequential" applications.
Underlaying the importance of the regulations, CIC's joint secretary (law) and additional registrar L C Singhi said "the regulations have been framed for better internal management of the commission and would facilitate its better functioning."
He said that the commission is also planning to expand the process of digitalisation of records.
I quite agree with the writer! There should be no vacations and CIC must simplify procedures and be more accessible if ACT is to have any utility and not degenerate into giving post retirement sinecures to pliable bureaucrats!
Hari Gautam Obhrai
There should be no vacations even for judges with huge case backlog!We need not take bad examples for new institutions!
Also new procedures should be kept simple and understandable for common public to be of any use in achieving stated objectives of legislation and not becoming a stunt to dupe gullible public!
Hari gautam Obhrai.
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<!-- google_ad_section_start -->The CIC has recently issued "The Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007"
These regulations are very useful for those appelants going for 2nd Appeal before the CIC. Before even starting to draft your appeal, please go thorugh the regulations carefully so as to avoid disappointment at a later stage.
Thanks to Karira for making link available to see latest regulations on filing second appeals to CIC1 The vacation paras could have been avoided! Seems undesirable with heavy case load!Hari Gautam Obhrai.