The number of pending appeals and complaints has risen with many pending for over two years
Shri Sumit Mullick, 16 March 2020
Chief Information Commissioner,
It is with deep pain I am writing this letter to you. The pending number of appeals and complaints has risen to over 57000 and many of them are pending for over two to three years. For a law which promises to deliver information within 30 days a wait of years before the Information Commission makes the law irrelevant. This has also made the PIOs very brazen in not honouring the citizen’s right in Article 19 (1)(a) and made a mockery of the promise by parliament.
I had met you in May 2018 and discussed this matter with you. I had offered some ideas but you had said you would be able to get each Commissioner to dispose about 890 cases per month and promised that the decisions would be given in 60 to 90 days. There is no sign of this happening. A look at the Commission’s disposals for January and February 2020 reveal that about 4500 appeals were decided in this period. Commissioner Shri D.L. Dharurkar alone has disposed over 2000 cases. This means the other four Commissioners disposed an average of about 300 cases per month. If you take a look at the Speedy Disposals video on your website you would see your predecessor Shri Gaikwad disposing 5 cases in 20 minutes. You were right when you had told me that an average disposal of 890 cases per month per commissioner was possible.
I understand that the Maharashtra Government is also responsible for not appointing six Commissioners who could help in bringing down the pendency. With humility I would like to point out that it is the job of the Commission to breathe down the neck of the government to persuade them to make the appointments. If you are not able to deliver due to the Government’s laxity, the Commission should share this with citizens so that together we can make our right effective.
This is one of the best transparency laws in the world and the credit for this goes to parliament and the citizens. We cannot allow it to become infructuous by neglect and carelessness.
Giving the Supreme Court and Karnataka High Court orders below, in this regard.
Supreme Court judgment in Writ Petition no. 436 of 2018 delivered on 15 February 2019
“24. Of course, no specific period within which CIC or SICs are required to dispose of the appeals and complaints is fixed. However, going by the spirit of the provisions, giving outer limit of 30 days to the CPIOs/SPIOs to provide information or reject application with reasons, it is expected that CIC or SICs shall decide the appeals/complaints within shortest time possible, which should normally be few months from the date of service of complaint or appeal to the opposite side.”
Karnataka High Court judgment dated 29 October 2015 in Writ Petition Nos. 28310-28311 & 45540-455402 of 2015.
“Para 6 : Consequently, it would be deemed that the second appeal would also have to be decided within a period of 45 days if not earlier from the date of filing.”
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