NEW DELHI: In the year of demonetisation (2016-17), the Ministry of Finance has topped the list of Central ministries in receiving and rejecting the maximum number of Right to Information (RTI) applications.
According to the annual report of the Central Information Commission (CIC), it was revealed that as many as 20 ministries/departments under the present government received a maximum number of RTI applications under the Act.
In 2016-17, the Finance Ministry received 1,51,186 RTI applications (18.41 per cent), out of which 27,833 were rejected.
Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Prime Minister’s Office were the other three government offices with a rate of rejection over 10 per cent.
As on April 1, 2017, 26,449 cases were pending for disposal before the Commission. In 2016-17, the CIC imposed penalties amounting to `18.97 lakh on grounds such as wrongful denial of information and delay in giving information. During this year, `8.59 lakh was received against the penalties imposed by the Commission over the years.
During the year, a total of 11,29,457 RTI applications were pending for disposal as opposed to 11,65,217 such requests in 2015-16. This showed a decline in RTI applications received during the year by 6.1 per cent.
From the total RTI applications heard in 2016-17, 60,428 applications (6.59 per cent), were rejected. In the previous year, it was 6.62 per cent.
Interestingly, 51 percent of the rejections referred to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 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.