Friday, May 12, 2017

Activist writes to CM, urges him to appoint new info chief

DNA: Mumbai: Friday, May 12, 2017.
RTI activist and former central information commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi, in a letter to the chief minister has demanded that a new state chief information commissioner as well as information commissioners be appointed soon. The current chief Ratnakar Gaikwad is due to retire at the end of this month.
The law permits up to eleven information commissioners and the state presently has eight including the chief.
"We are having problems implementing the Right To Information Act owing to backlogs in some of the benches of the State Information Commission. This is partly due to delay in the appointment of information commissioners by different state governments since 2005. Presently, about 40,000 cases are pending... Even if seven commissioners hear 5,000 cases every year, it would mean, an applicant would have to wait for over a year to have their appeal heard. While the law states that a citizen should be provided information in 30 days, a wait of over a year would reduce the RTI to being irrelevant," wrote Gandhi.
Some RTI activists have been demanding that a chief be appointed soon because the general administration of the commission suffers.
"The process of appointing chief info commissioners should be started four months in advance (before the incumbent retires). And there should be transparency in the appointment the commissioners. An RTI activist should certainly be considered for the post," said GR Vora, an RTI user.
There was no response from the chief minister when asked to comment on the letter.