Annual reports of State Information Commission not made public
A delay in uploading its annual report on the official website (www.tnsic.gov.in) by the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) has come to fore as the latest report on the site is of 2008 vintage. An annual report is prescribed under section 25 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and includes:-
(a) the number of RTI applications filed with each public authority;
(b) the number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the documents pursuant to the requests, the provisions of RTI Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked;
(c) the number of appeals referred to the Information Commission for review, the nature of the appeals and the outcome of the appeals;
(d) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of this Act;
(e) the amount of charges collected by each public authority under RTI Act;
(f) any facts which indicate an effort by the public authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of RTI Act;
(g) recommendations for reform, including recommendations in respect of the particular public authorities, for the development, improvement, modernisation, reform or amendment to RTI Act or other legislation or common law or any other matter relevant for operationalising the right to access information.
As per the annual report for 2008, the Tamil Nadu SIC:
· received 41,520 letters from applicants, of which it had issued orders on 18,016 appeals in 2008.
· show cause notices were issued against PIOs in 355 cases.
· disciplinary action was recommended in 90 cases
· penalty was imposed in respect of 28 cases.
· In terms of numbers, the revenue department received the maximum number of RTI applications (27,178) followed by school education (11,714).
In reply to an application filed by B.V. Krishnaraja seeking year-wise details from January 1, 2007 to June 1, 2014, the SIC had informed that the information sought for by the applicant had not been compiled yet. State chief information commissioner K S Sripathi has informed that the annual reports till 2010-11 have been sent to the government which is yet to be tabled in the assembly.
A survey by NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative found that in many cases, the state governments have failed to table reports of their RTI cases in the assembly or put them online, which is mandatory under the RTI Act. The states include, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, Sikkim and Tripura. The Information Commissions should set an example for the standards of transparency before other departments but the performance is hardly inspiring.