Mahrashtra State Information Commission to resume hearing the RTI cases
The Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) has decided to resume work with immediate effect. Following the Supreme Court verdict in the Namit Sharma case, many Information Commissions in the country had stopped work. On 4th October, 2011 in a meeting presided over by its chief Ratnakar Gaikwad, all the Information Commissioners of Maharashtra SIC discussed the Supreme Court order and unanimously decided to resume work.
The apex court had held that the Information Commission should hear the cases in benches having two members, one from the judiciary and the other an expert member. It was ruled that the Information Commission should be headed either by a retired chief justice of the High Court or that of Supreme Court. The SC directed the Central Government to suitably amend the RTI Act for the purpose. The Maharashtra SIC sought advice from the government and also the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on whether hearing appeals should be continued. However, neither the state nor the department sent any reply and it was decided that unless Centre gave instructions, there was no need for the state commission to halt the on-going proceedings
It is a fact that neither the state of Maharashtra nor the Maharashtra SIC was party to the litigation in which the Supreme Court gave the verdict. The situation is similar in case of other SICs in the country. It has been reported that the central government is filing a review petition before the apex court against the verdict.