Supreme Court questions Centre over vacancies at Information Commissions of Centre and States, seeks reply
A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri expressed strong displeasure over the fact that the government’s failure to appoint information commissioners has adversely impacted CICs and SICs.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government and eight states over vacancies in the Central and state information commissions, and observed that the situation has been affecting many institutions in the country.
A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri expressed strong displeasure over the fact that the government’s failure to appoint information commissioners has adversely impacted the Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions (SICs) across the country.
“Look at the vacancies in these bodies. In fact, this has become a phenomenon in various institutions in the country. How will they function like this?” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand while hearing a PIL by activists Anjali Bhardwaj and Lokesh Batra. The ASG, on her part, said she would examine the issue and revert.
The bench issued notices to the Centre and eight states — West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka and Telangana — and sought their responses in three weeks.
Senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the petitioners, said 40,000 RTI cases are pending before the CIC and SICs and their disposal would take years due to the vacancies. Jaiswal also pointed out that by the end of November, the CIC would have only three information commissioners and no chief, as against 11 posts.