NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has topped the list of ministries which rejected RTI applications, according to the annual report of the Chief Information Commission (CIC).The MHA rejected 15 per cent of RTI applications filed by the public to get information under the Act. This is almost thrice the average of RTI rejections by other Union ministries.
The Finance Ministry attains the second position in rejecting RTI applications. The Delhi High Court too rejected RTI applications. Interestingly, the defence ministry rejected only 5 per cent of RTI applications filed by the public. The Ministry of Home Affairs received almost 57,000 RTI applications, out of which 8,700 were rejected. Similarly, the defence ministry received 80,000 RT applications but rejected only 4,000 requests seeking disclosure of information.
The finance ministry received the maximum number of RTI requests, out of which 28,000 were rejected under various sections of RTI. According to the report, in 51 per cent cases of rejection, the reason for rejecting disclosure of information in Section 8(1), citing sovereignty and integrity of the country as also its security and strategic, scientific or economic interest, commercial confidence, trade secrets, or intellectual property as reasons for refusal to part with the information.
The railway ministry and the ministry of housing and urban affairs rejected the fewest requests under the RTI Act. The report also highlighted that in 2018, more than 14 lakh RTI applications were filed, in comparison with 2017, when government offices had received almost 11 lakh RTI requests.
The CIC disposed of 29,005 Second Appeals and Complaints cases in 2017-18, which is the second highest disposal by the Commission since its inception. A total of 25,815 cases were registered during the same period. At the end of the year the Commission had 23,541 cases pending before it.
The Commission imposed penalties to the tune of `33.62 lakhs during 2017-18.