Is the CIC maintaining its website as per the section 4 of the RTI Act?
Citizens have a lot of expectations from the Central Information Commission (CIC) which is one of the finest organisations in the country. However, it appears that a few chinks are appearing in the armour and there are lapses in fulfilling some of the duties entrusted upon the orgainsation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. It has been observed that the website of the CIC is not being maintained as per the section 4 of the RTI Act. Some of the entries in the website have not been updated for long that makes one wonder how the organisation which is the symbol of transparency, is surviving with such pristine data on its site. A few examples amongst the headings in the CIC site are given below:-
Circulars of CIC: Last updated on 16th February 2012. It is not clear whether no circular has been issued in last 11 months or it a lack of updating the site.
Important Letters From / To CIC: Last update is about a letter from MHRD dated July 31, 2012. By no stretch of imagination, it can be assumed that no important letter has been received or sent in 6 months.
Report on Monthly Disposal of Cases: No figures of receipt and closing balance w.e.f. May, 2012. This is basic information which ought to have been in place.
News on RTI: The heading reads “Obama gives new life to the FOIA” dated January 23, 2009. The clock seems to have stopped in the year 2009 for the site up loaders.
RTI: Study / Status Reports: The latest entry is regarding Implementation of RTI Act in the Lok Sabha Secretariat which is dated June 18, 2009. In the past 3 years, there would have been more such reports which ought to have been made public.
Press Releases of CIC: Seventh Annual Convention 2012 dated 11.10.2012 proclaimed as “new”. Has the CIC not shared anything with the press in the past 3 months?
The CIC seems to have taken notice of the lapses during one of its meetings and the excerpts of the minutes of the meeting dated 08.01.2013 are produced below.
The Commission observed that in some of the registries decision of all the disposed cases are not uploaded on the website promptly and number of decisions reflected on the website are less than actual cases disposed during the month. The Commission directed that each registry would ensure uploading decisions after its pronouncement immediately on website. Any registry which fails to comply with this exercise without any reasonable cause, the concerned Data Entry Operator in the registry would not be paid salary for that month. The Commission also directed the registries to place before the Information Commissioners/CIC, pending cases registered up to 31st December, 2011 on a special drive mode for their speedy disposal. This exercise must be completed within 3 months.
The Commission further, directed that the pendency figures regarding cases should be reconciled latest by the end of this month and should be placed on its website in the beginning of February, 2013. Once the pendency figures are ascertained, reallocation amongst the CIC/ICs would be considered.