Indina Express: Chennai: Venkatesan Parthsarathy: Sunday, March 12, 2017.
Filing of appeals with the Tamil Nadu Information Commission under the RTI Act is to be made easy soon. On the lines of the facility available with the Central Information Commission (CIC), appeals can be registered online. Also, complaints against officials even after the State commission has passed an order can be registered through the portal.
The online portal expected to be made available for users by this year end, is currently being developed by the National Informatics Centre.
Under the RTI Act, if a person who has submitted an RTI application is aggrieved that there is no response, unsatisfactory reply or incorrect information, he or she can lodge their first appeal with the first appellate authority. If again, there is unsatisfactory response, there is a provision to approach the State Information Commission.
On an average, the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, with its office at T Nagar, receives 50 appeals a day.
As much as 80 per cent of those appeals are from outstations and are posted to the commission. There are also instances of petitioners coming to the commission from faraway places just to file an appeal in person. It is in this regard, the proposed online facility would help users.
According to a senior official in the commission, the online facility figures in the Tamil Nadu Innovative Initiative, launched in 2014 by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, to encourage innovative approaches in governance. Nearly `30 lakh was sanctioned for the purpose.
“The project is being handled by the National Informatics Centre and its launch is very much possible by the year end,” the official said.
He also spoke about a proposal to include the service in all e-seva centres across the State. By enabling this online provision, the official said it will become easy to maintain a database and more significantly, eliminate manual data entry, which at times becomes challenging due to illegible handwriting of petitioners.
There are also plans to send e-mail and SMS based alerts to the appellants about the status of their appeals. Information about the date of hearing as well as disposal of cases will be communicated. Currently, they are informed only about the registration of appeals.