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Judiciary

Supreme Court asks Centre, States to fill up vacancies in information commissions

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      31 October, 2023 12:06 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court asks Centre States to fill up vacancies in information commissions

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and state governments to fill up vacancies in information commissions, as delay in appointments defeated the very purpose of the RTI Act, making it a ‘dead letter’.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra expressed displeasure at the failure by the central and state governments to fill up vacancies.

The court asked the Centre's counsel to prepare a chart on the number of vacancies and number of appeals/complaints in all the commissions.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, for activist Anjali Bharadwaj, submitted that despite the 2019 judgment of the SC, the Union government and several states have failed to fill the vacancies in the information commission leading to a large number of pending cases and long delays in the disposal of appeals and complaints.

According to Bharadwaj, the Central Information Commission is currently functioning without a Chief and only four commissioners are working, while all of whom are set to finish their tenure by November 6, 2023 following which the CIC will become defunct.

In States, Maharashtra SIC is without a Chief and functioning with only four commissioners even though more than 1,15,000 appeals/complaints are pending.

In case of Jharkhand, SIC has been completely defunct since May 2020 and no appeals/complaints are being registered or disposed for the last three years.

The Tripura SIC has been defunct for more than two years since July 2021. Telangana SIC has been defunct since February 2023 even though more than 10,000 appeals/complaints are pending.

The Karnataka SIC is functioning with five commissioners and six posts are lying vacant. More than 40,000 appeals/complaints are pending before the commission.

The West Bengal SIC is left with three commissioners with around 12,000 appeals/complaints pending. The Odisha SIC is functioning with three commissioners while more than 16,000 appeals/complaints are pending. The Bihar SIC is being run with two commissioners while more than 8,000 appeals/complaints are pending. 



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