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Over two lakh fifty thousand RTI appeals remain pending

Information Commissions in three states, Jharkhand, Tripura and Meghalaya, are completely defunct as no new commissioners have been appointed after the incumbent demitted office. Another three commissions, Nagaland, Manipur and Telangana, are functioning without a Chief.

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New Delhi: As the Right to Information Act completed 16 years of implementation on Tuesday, over two lakh fifty thousand appeals remain pending with information commissions across the country, a report said.
According to a report by voluntary organisation Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), 2,55,602 appeals and complaints were pending on June 30, 2021 in the 26 information commissions.

Information Commissions in three states, Jharkhand, Tripura and Meghalaya, are completely defunct as no new commissioners have been appointed after the incumbent demitted office. Another three commissions, Nagaland, Manipur and Telangana, are functioning without a Chief.

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According to the report, the backlog of appeals and complaints has been steadily increasing in the commissions. On March 31, 2019 there were a total of 2,18,347 appeals pending in the information commissions.
Delivering a public lecture on 16 years of the RTI act, former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur said the act was being “subverted”.
“Right to Information act is being subverted in a manner. Information is not being collected, it is not being given… Appointments are not being made, thousands of appeals are pending,” Justice Lokur said.

The report also said that going by the average monthly disposal rate and the pendency in commissions, the time it would take for an appeal to be disposed was computed, and it showed that Odisha state information commission would take 6 years and 8 months to dispose a matter, Goa would take 5 years and 11 months, Kerala would take 4 years and 10 months and in West Bengal 4 years and 7 months would be needed.
The estimated time required for disposal of an appeal or complaint in the CIC was one year and 11 months and for the Maharashtra information commission it was three years and 6 months.

The assessment shows that 13 commissions would take a year or more to dispose of a matter. The analysis of penalties imposed by information commissions showed that the commissions did not impose penalties in more than 95 per cent of the cases where penalties were imposable.

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