Chief Information Commissioner briefs the Minister about progressively improving the disposal rate of RTI applications including in Jammu & Kashmir where the Central Information Commission’s jurisdiction was extended only three years ago after the State turned into a Union Territory.
The Chief Information Commissioner of India, Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha today called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh to brief him about the current status of the disposal and pendency of the RTI applications across the country, including in Jammu & Kashmir where the Central Information Commission’s jurisdiction was extended only three years ago after the State turned into Union Territory.
During the hour-long meeting with the Minister, the Chief Information Commissioner gave a brief about the progressively improving disposal rate of RTI applications in spite of the pandemic-induced disruptions in recent times.
Dr Jitendra Singh lauded Central Information Commission for achieving a consistent decline in pendency with a corresponding rise in the disposal of the Right to Information (RTI) appeals. He said, he was pleased to note that the pendency reduced from about 29,000 cases last year to around 19,000 cases at present, while the disposal of cases increased from 28,793 in 2021-22 to 29,104 in 2022-23.
Sinha also informed that in the month of June 2020, in spite of the COVID pandemic, the monthly disposal rate of RTI applications was higher than the rate in the corresponding month of June last year i.e. 2019. He said this was possible because the Central Information Commission had carried on its work uninterrupted even during the COVID times by using modern technology of online, virtual and video conferences.
Dr Jitendra Singh also pointed out that it was during the challenging times of the pandemic in May 2020, the Central Information Commission started entertaining, hearing and disposing of RTIs from the newly created Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, through virtual means. He said applicants from J&K and Ladakh were allowed to file RTI applications from home and even for appeals to the CIC.
Overall pendency of RTI cases progressively reducing in spite of an intervening period of the Covid pandemic: Dr Jitendra Singh
It is pertinent to mention here that consequent to the passing of the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019, the J&K Right to Information Act 2009 and the Rules thereunder were repealed and the Right to Information Act 2005 and the Rules thereunder was enforced from 31.10.2019. He also added that as far as J&K, the difference now is that non-Domicile or non-State subjects of Jammu & Kashmir are also entitled to file RTIs related to UT issues or agencies.
Sinha also briefed Dr Jitendra Singh about the status of disposal of the RTI applications from Jammu & Kashmir ever since the Union Territory was brought under the purview of the Central Information Commission earlier this year. After CIC started in J&K, In 2020-21, out of the 844 registered RTI applications, 301 were disposed of. In 2021-22, 297 new RTI applications were registered and 114 were disposed of. In 2022-23, 293 new RTI applications were registered and 697 were disposed of including those from the backlog of the earlier years.
CIC has been functioning in J&K for the last three years and as of now, only around 300 RTI applications are pending and very soon that will also be disposed of, assured Sinha. He thanked the Minister for continuous support from the government and coordination by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT).
The Union Minister also noted that it was during the Modi government that a 24-hour postal service was introduced for e-filing of RTI applications during any part of the day or night and from any part of the country or abroad. It was during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure, he said, that the office of Central Information Commissioner was shifted to its own exclusive office complex.
Dr Jitendra Singh reiterated that the role of the Central Information Commission is important to live up to Prime Minister Modi’s vision of transparency and citizen – participation in the functioning of the government.
Disclaimer: This is an official press release by pib.