Pendency surge in information commission due to Centre's failure to appoint commissioners

Centre’s lack of seriousness in bringing transparency in governance is becoming  evident with its failure to appoint information commissioners for the Central Information Commission (CIC) despite a ma

Published: 01st May 2018 05:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2018 05:37 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Centre’s lack of seriousness in bringing transparency in governance is becoming evident with its failure to appoint information commissioners for the Central Information Commission (CIC) despite a massive pendency in cases.Several information commissions in the country are currently operating with a depleted strength of information commissioners as a result of which the pendency of cases has grown up significantly. With this, the estimated time for disposal of cases has also gone up — a study conducted by Centre for Equity Studies and a citizen’s group, the estimated time for the disposal of an appeal or a complaint is the highest in West Bengal at 43 years.

Sources in the CIC blame the lack of sufficient staff strength as a major reason for the increasing backlog. At present there are more than 26, 000 cases pending in the CIC.Based on an analysis of 29 information commissions, the study conducted by the Centre for Equity Studies has revealed several issues that affects the performance of information commissions, including the lack of transparency and skewed composition of the information commissioners, inadequate imposition of penalties and the issue of delayed responses.

In Kerala, the pendency as of October 31, 2017, had mounted to nearly 14,000 appeals and complaints. Overall, the number of complaints and appeals pending with all the commissions rose from 181,852 on December 31, 2016 to 199,186 on October 31, 2017. The maximum pendency was reported from Uttar Pradesh at 41,561, Maharashtra at 41,178, Karnataka at 32,992 and the CIC at 23,944.

When it came to the disposal of complaints, the CIC led the list with 54,219 appeals, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 42,911, Karnataka at 28,648 and Telangana at 20,257. Overall, 214,809 complaints were disposed of. The lowest number of appeals disposed off was by Mizoram at 21 and of complaints by Meghalaya at 63.

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