Listen to this article:
New Delhi: The Union government on Thursday, July 21, told the Rajya Sabha that 26,518 appeals and complaints filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act were pending for clearance with Central Information Commission (CIC) as on July 18.
The information was disclosed by Union minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh in response to questions posed by Iranna Kadadi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Karnataka.
On being asked specifically for pendency of cases from Karantaka, Singh said state-wise data on RTI Act applications is maintained by the respective state governments.
To Kadadi’s query if RTI applications can be made online, the minister in response said, “All the states had been requested to explore the feasibility of implementing online RTI. National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been requested to provide technical support, such as software, and source code to the state governments which desire to replicate the web portal for online filing of RTI applications at state level.”
As The Wire reported earlier, the poor disposal rate of RTI applications has persisted for long. The primary reason – as identified by RTI activists – is that many applications are overlooked by authorities just to deny information. Inordinately longer response times – which is another problem – is to discourage applicants from filing their RTI pleas.
On the other hand, authorities at CIC have often blamed it on “frivolous” applications for the huge pendency of applications. According to them, more often than not there would be multiple applications on the same topic. Sometimes, RTI applications are used as a “tool of harassment” against government officials if any work pertaining to an applicant is not done, they aver.
(With PTI inputs)