Are the State Information Commissions working following the Apex Court judgment?
At least eight State Information Commissions (SIC) out of the total of 28 have stopped work following the Supreme Court judgment regarding the appointment of Information Commissioners. The Apex Court had directed that all appeals / complaints under the RTI Act shall be heard by a bench of two members one of which shall be a person with a legal background. The SICs which have stopped work include the Information Commissions of the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan. Some of these State Information Commissions stopped work on their own while in case of the rest, it was done following the advice of the Advocate General of the State or of the State’s Law Department.
In Kerala, the Advocate General has advised the SIC to continue working while the Chhattisgarh SIC continues to work while awaiting clarifications from the state government. Surprisingly, work has come to a standstill in Jharkhand State Information Commission despite having a member with a legal background. Further, the Goa State Information Commission is already in a non-functional mode due to lack of a serving member.
The Central Information Commission continues to hear the appeals and complaints.