Over 60% info officers not giving facts, finds study

NEW DELHI:Over 60 per cent of orders given by Information Commissioners in transparency panels do not record critical facts about the cases heard by them, which is in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders, a study has found.

New Delhi, November 8

Over 60 per cent of orders given by Information Commissioners in transparency panels do not record critical facts about the cases heard by them, which is in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders, a study has found.

Analysis of 2,000 orders of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions of Bihar, Assam and Rajasthan showed more than 60 per cent of the orders contained deficiencies in terms of not recording critical facts.

The study was carried out by transparency advocacy groups Research, Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG) and Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) across three states and the CIC.

“The phenomenon of ICs not passing speaking orders is problematic for several reasons. First, information seekers, the public authorities and people concerned have no way of finding out the rationale for the decisions of ICs.

“Second, orders of ICs are often challenged before the courts. The tests of legality, fairness and reasonableness become exponentially more difficult to pass when orders don’t speak for themselves and lack essential information, facts and reasoning,” the study said.

The findings came up for discussion at a public meeting organised by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information here today on the occasion of 11 years of RTI.

The study which also looked into pendency found that the Assam State Information Commissioner will take at least 30 years to hear an appeal or complaint filed today. In January, 2014, the waiting period was two years.

“The pendency in the Assam SIC went up by 240 per cent, while in Odisha and Punjab it went up by more than 60 per cent. The pendency in Kerala SIC went up by 49 per cent, while the CIC saw a rise of 43 per cent,” it said. — PTI

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