Indian Express: New Delhi: Saturday, March 18, 2017.
The annual report on Right To Information for 2015-16 said in 43 per cent cases of information rejection, the reason was given as “other”, without explaining why the central government department was withholding the data. The report, compiled by the Central Information Commission (CIC) and released on Friday, shows that among the top receivers of RTI queries are the Prime Minister’s Office and the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Railways, Defence, Labour and the DoPT the nodal department for implementation of RTI Act).
According to the report, in 2015-16, 9.76 lakh applications were received, which is 2.21 lakhs more than the RTI applications in 2014-15.
The report says the public authorities rejected 6.62 per cent of the 9.76 lakh applications that were processed during 2015-16. The percentage has come down by 1.77 per cent than the previous year.
It states that 47 per cent of rejections of information was under Section 8(1) of the Act. The section lists under what circumstances the public authority shall be under “no obligation to give any citizen” certain types of information.
According to the report, in only two cases was administrative action taken against officials with regard to administration of the transparency law.
The CIC has reported that there was a decrease in the number of First Appeals received but increase in the number disposed of by the first appellate authorities.
The report said the CIC imposed penalties to the tune of Rs 10.52 lakh, of which Rs. 9.41 lakh was paid by the public information officers.
On the other hand, penalties worth Rs. 1.25 lakh, imposed in various cases, have been stayed by high courts.