Study to evaluate the performance of the Information Commission
As per a study done by a NGO, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), over 66,000 appeals and complaints are pending with six information commissions in the country. The position of pending appeals and complaints is as under:
· Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) has the maximum pendency with 34,158 cases.
· Surprisingly, the Central Information Commission comes second.
· The State Information Commission of Kerala, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir come next in the line.
· The State Information Commission of Sikkim and Tripura have no pendency which has been attributed to a small number of appeals and complaints filed with them.
The study also shows that females are very poorly represented in the Information Commission.
· Goa is the only state where the State Information Commission is headed by a woman.
· Further, in Tripura, a female is functioning as acting Chief Information Commissioner.
· As of May 2014, out of 93 information commissioners, merely 11 were females.
The representation of young generation in the Information Commission is nil and the majority of information commissioners are retired civil servants. The study shows that 69% of CICs are retired IAS officers.
In a review of the Namit Sharma judgment, the Supreme Court held that candidates with expertise in the fields mentioned in the RTI Act, which includes law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media, and administration and governance should be identified and selected for the post. Venkatesh Nayak, who headed the CHRI research on information commission, has raised a question about a former director of the Intelligence Bureau heading the Central Information Commission (CIC) pointing out that IB is beyond the purview of the RTI Act. He has contended that such an indiviual who has no experience of embedding transparency in administration would not be in a position to champion transparency.