• Monday, December 17, 2018

Selection of Information Commissioners in Central Information Commission

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Forum' started by Hindustani78, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

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    Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
    08-March, 2018 17:11 IST
    Vacancies in CIC

    As per the provisions of the Section 12(2) of the RTI act, 2005, the Central information Commission shall consist of :-

    1. The Chief Information Commissioner and
    2. Such number of Central Information Commissioners not exceeding ten as may be deemed necessary.
    Presently, the Chief Information Commissioner and six Information Commissioners are posted in the Central Information Commission.

    The number of cases pending for disposal has actually been coming down in last three years, as detailed below:-



    As on
    Cases (No.)

    01.04.2015
    37,323

    01.04.2016
    34,982

    01.04.2017
    26,449

    01.01.2018
    24,763


    The selection of Information Commissioners in Central Information Commission is made under Section 12(3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 after inviting applications through open advertisement and following the due process.

    This was stated by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.
    .

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  2. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

    President's Secretariat
    12-October, 2018 14:40 IST
    President of India inaugurates 13th convention of the Central Information Commission

    The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 13th Convention of the Central Information Commission in New Delhi today (October 12, 2018).

    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that free flow of information is the essence of democracy. And for the people of a free and free-spirited country, information is power. They have a right to know how they are being governed, how public money is being spent, how public and national resources are being deployed, how public services are being delivered, and how public works and welfare programmes are being carried out. In a democracy, there is no such thing as too much information. Information overload is always preferable to information deficit.

    The President said that RTI is not a standalone. It is part of the larger narrative of strengthening Indian democracy, of ensuring transparency across systems of governance, and of building capacities of the common citizen to enable him or her to take informed decisions and make informed choices. Above all, it is about nurturing the social contract of trust between the citizen and the state – where both must have faith in each other. A related and parallel implication is to ensure rational use of public resources to check instances of corruption or waste.

    The President said that RTI is part of a theme that makes for greater efficiency in both delivering services to a citizen as well as using public resources and finances. This improves transparency and removes doubts that may arise about favouritism and misappropriation. The Internet and the digital economy have been used to advance e-auctions of mining blocks. They have helped create the Government e-Market or GeM portal for public procurement of goods and services. And the JAM trinity – Jandhan accounts, Aadhar-based unique identities and mobile phones – has helped with direct bank transfers to beneficiaries of schemes.

    The President said that all these are promoting efficiency and checking wastage. They act as a bulwark against corruption. They are part of the same architecture of citizen empowerment, citizen enabling and public efficiency that has inspired the Right to Information.

    The President also emphasized on the fine balance between the Right to Information and the Right to Privacy. He commended the CIC for upholding the RTI’s basic charter that public records, with some exceptions for subjects such as national security, are open to public scrutiny – but private records of individual citizens are protected from intrusive third-party curiosity. He said that we must be cautious against fringe cases that try to use the RTI mechanism to settle personal scores. Especially in an age when privacy has become a matter of such intense debate, it is crucial to maintain this balance.

    Click here for the President's speech



    ***
     
  3. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

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    NEW DELHI, November 22, 2018 22:23 IST
    Updated: November 22, 2018 22:27 IST
    The Commission discussed them internally but chose not to take a stand

    The Centre did not take the Central Information Commission into confidence on its proposed amendments to the Right To Information Act, said outgoing Chief Information Commissioner who retires on November 24, 2018.

    Speaking to The Hindu on his last working day as Central Information Commission, Chief Information Commissioner said the Commission had discussed the proposed amendments internally. “We discussed it, but the Commission has chosen not to take a stand on the proposal.” Asked whether the government had consulted the Commission, which is the final appeal authority for information regarding any central public authority, Chief Information Commissioner said, “We were not asked.”

    Chief Information Commissioner refused to comment on the impact of the amendments on the functioning of the Commission or the implementation of the Act.

    The government had planned to introduce the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the Lok Sabha in July this year. But the Bill was not tabled following protests from civil society and the Opposition. The Bill proposes to give the Centre the power to decide the tenure and salaries of State and Central Information Commissioners. Critics have warned that the amendments undermine the independence and authority of the Commission.

    While the Commission as a whole has not taken any official stance, several of the Commissioners have made their views public, signalling a split within the body. M. Sridhar Acharyulu, the only Commissioner without a background in government administration, had written a letter to his fellows soon after the amendments were made public, warning that the proposal would weaken the Commission.

    At the annual Right to Information convention in October, M. Sridhar Acharyulu and fellow Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad had publicly slammed the amendments, while another Commissioner, D.P. Sinha, had defended them, saying that there was nothing wrong with a “course correction” that would make the Act relevant.

    Radha Krishna Mathur a 1977 batch IAS officer of Tripura cadre, has headed the Commission since January 2016. Radha Krishna Mathur was appointed soon after his retirement as Defence Secretary in 2015. M. Sridhar Acharyulu and Mr. Azad both completed their tenures earlier this week, and a fourth Commissioner, Amitava Bhattacharya, will also retire on December 1, leaving the 11-member Commission with only three serving Commissioners.

    The Centre had issued an advertisement to fill up existing vacancies in July, but had included no details on salaries or tenures, leading to concerns that it intended to re-introduce the Right to Information Amendments Bill in Parliament. The current law sets a tenure of five years and salaries which match those of Election Commissioners. “Bringing down the strength of the Commission will impact the work and increase pendency…There will be more delays,” admitted Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur. During his tenure, pendency of cases had been reduced from about 35,000 to about 25,000, he said.

    One of the biggest challenges for the Right to Information Act would be the issue of privacy, Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur said. “The world is moving in both directions. There is an increasing demand for more privacy and more information. We need to find the right balance. There needs to be a public debate,” Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur said.

    However, Chief Information Commissioner refused to comment on the recent recommendations of the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee on data protection to allow certain types of information to be exempted from disclosure under the Right to Information Act. Critics, including Chief Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu, have warned that this would shield corrupt government officials from public scrutiny and dilute the Right to Information Act.
     
  4. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

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    NEW DELHI, November 24, 2018 00:09 IST
    Updated: November 24, 2018 00:09 IST


    No transparency in appointment process, says petitioner.

    The Centre has denied a Right to Information Request for a copy of the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2018, which had been notified for introduction in the monsoon session of Parliament.

    The Bill sought to give the Centre power to set the tenure and salaries of State and Central Information Commissioners. Critics worry this could threaten the independence of Commissioners. An Right to Information request for details on the applicants and search committee set up to fill the vacancies on the Central Information Commission has also been denied. The Central Information Commission is the final appellate authority for all Central public authorities. By December 1, there will be eight vacancies in the 11-member Commission.

    In an affidavit filed in an ongoing Supreme Court case regarding the appointment of Information Commissioners, the Centre admitted that it has held up appointments due to its effort to first amend the law.

    In its rejoinder, to be filed on Monday, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information plans to argue that this rationale does not provide “a legal ground for not filling vacancies in the Central Information Commission” as the existing Act already provides sufficient details on salaries and tenure.

    In May 2018, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information co-convener filed an Right to Information request for a copy of the Bill and was denied on the grounds that the matter was still under consideration and had not reached finality. “We put in another request, it was denied on October 24. The same reason was offered for denial.” “We are seeing a complete lack of transparency in the appointment process for the top transparency watchdog,” National Campaign for People’s Right to Information co-convener said.
     
  5. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

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    NEW DELHI, November 25, 2018 21:50 IST
    Updated: November 25, 2018 21:51 IST

    The Prime Minister’s Office has refused to disclose the quantum of black money brought back from abroad, citing a provision of the Right to Information Act that bars disclosure of information that may impede investigation and prosecution of offenders.

    Its response came on an October 16 order passed by the Central Information Commission asking the Prime Minister’s Office to provide details within 15 days.

    The Prime Minister of Republic of India has been informed that a special investigation team had already been formed and its investigation was under way. As such, disclosure of all the action by the BJP government at this juncture might impede investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders and hence would attract the provision of exemption under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Right to Information Act, it said in response to the application filed by whistle-blower bureaucrat.

    Such investigations came under different intelligence and security organisations excluded from the ambit of the Right to Information Act, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

    Whistle-blower bureaucrat, an Indian Forest Service officer, sought information on the quantum of black money brought from abroad since June 1, 2014. In its initial reply, the Prime Minister’s Office said in October last year that the question was not covered under Section 2(f) of the law that defines information. Whistle-blower bureaucrat then moved the Central Information Commission.

    There is no official assessment of the quantum of black money in India and abroad. According to a study by think-tank Global Financial Integrity (GFI), an estimated USD 770 billion in black money entered India during 2005-2014. Nearly $165 billion in illicit money exited the country during the same period, the report by the global financial watchdog said.

    In response to another query mentioned in the Whistle-blower bureaucrat application, the Prime Minister’s Office refused to share details of corruption complaints received against Union ministers, saying providing such information “may be a subjective as well as a cumbersome exercise”.
     
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