• The Supreme Court has directed the Union of India and all States to file status reports on the latest developments regarding vacancies and pendency in the Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions (SICs).


  • The Central Information Commission has been constituted with effect 12-10-2005 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.
  • Powers and Function -The Commission has certain powers and functions mentioned in sections 18, 19, 20 and 25 of the RTI Act, 2005.
    • These broadly relate to adjudication in second appeal for giving information;
    • Direction for record keeping, suo motu disclosures receiving and enquiring into a complaint on inability to file RTI etc;
    • Imposition of penalties and Monitoring and Reporting including preparation of an Annual Report.
    • The decisions of the Commission are final and binding.
  • Composition – The Commission consists of a Chief Information Commissioner and not morethan ten Information Commissioners. They are appointed by the Presidenton the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister
    • The RTI Act 2005 provides that the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology,social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
    • The RTI Act 2005 provides that Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.
  • State Information Commission:
    • It is constituted by the State Government.
    • It has one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC) to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee headed by the Chief Minister.


  • SIC Annual reports
    • The RTI Act SICs and CIC are required to submit an annual report on RTI implementation. Many time annual reports are not submitted on time or not submitted at all by some State Information Commission.
  • Perception of being “lenient” towards PIOs (Public Information Officers)
    • RTI provides for punishments for non-provision of information and delays in provising information. But the Civil Society Organizations pointed out and as also determined by the survey, the penalty isimposed is in a very few cases.
  • Lack of Monitoring and Review mechanism
    • One of the most important roles of the Information Commission is to monitor and review the Public Authority and initiate actions to make them comply with the spirit of the Act.
    • However, this has been one of the weakest links in the implementation of the Act.
    • It is acknowledged and appreciated that the Information Commissions have been primarily been spending most of their time in “hearings” and disposing off appeals.
    • However, monitoring the Public Authority for compliance of the Act is also an important aspect of the role of the Information Commission, which could result in reducing the number of appeals.
  • High level of pendency
    • Over 13,000 RTI cases pending with the Central Information Commission in last one year.
    • The pendency at the Information Commission is a huge challenge. Unless and until the pendency is kept at manageable level, the objective of the Act would not be met. High pendency of appeals is due to non-optimal processes for disposing off appeals and complaints
  • Geographical spread of the Information Commissions
    • Majority of the Information Commissions are situated in the State capitals, which results in appellants undergoing an additional cost in order to attend the hearings.
    • RTI ACT provisions allow Information Commissions to set up regional offices with prior approval of StateGovernments.
    • Maharashtra SIC has already set up regional offices across the State. The offices are present inPune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Konkan and Mumbai.
    • The Central Information Commission, which has jurisdiction over RTI appeals relating to Central Government Public Authorities spread across the country, is located in Delhi which results in wastage of considerable time/ expenses of PIOs and the appellants, who come from far off areas.
  • Variation in assumption of role by SIC and State Governments
    • The Act is quite unambiguous in terms of the responsibilities of the appropriateGovernment and the Information Commission.
    • However, as per the current situation on the ground level currently the Information Commission is as effective as the support provided by the appropriate Government.
    • The Information Commission is always dependent on the financial and infrastructural support from the Government.
    • In some of the States, (like UP), the effectiveness of communication/guide from the State Government carries more emphasis than the communication by the State Information Commission.


  • Democracy is all about the governance of the people, by the people and for the people. In order to achieve the third paradigm, the state needs to start acknowledging the importance of an informed public and the role that it plays in the country’s development as a nation. In this context, underlying issues related to RTI Act should be resolved, so that it can serve the information needs of society.

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