In the wake of the Supreme Court judgment that all Information Commissions must function as a two-person bench, with one judicial member possessing a sound legal background, the Kerala State Information Commission has called off all hearings.
The Commission has also approached the Advocate- General of Kerala seeking legal opinion on Saturday.
Chief Information Commissioner Sibi Mathews said that as the State Information Commission lacked a judicial hand it has temporarily called off all hearings for the time being as proceeding without the mandates could invite the contempt of court proceedings.
Mathews said that the Advocate-General had informed him that a reply would be given within three to four days after a detailed study of the report.
“We hope that the matter will be settled within a week,” he said, adding that most of the states faced a similar plight. D B Binu, state general secretary of RTI Federation said that, though the judgment of the Apex Court to ensure transparency is laudable, calling off the hearings could bring in huge repercussions.
“More than thousands of petitions are pending before the Information Commission. There are cases which have been pending for more than three years. What is needed at this juncture is that the Information Commission should go for a review or clarification petition in the Supreme Court and the current status quo should be maintained,” he said.
Binu said that the Information Commission should go for a mechanism which will not disrupt the hearing. He also pointed out that the stopping the hearings would give a wrong signal to the public information officers.
“This will slacken the process of giving out the information through the RTI, thereby disrupting a system that has evolved over many years,” he added.