Compared to CIC, KIC is a laggard

Compared to CIC, KIC is a laggard

Compared to CIC, KIC is a laggard

However, lately, the CIC has made impressive strides in ensuring transparency and efficiency in its functioning.

Earlier this mo-nth, the CIC, headed by Satyananda Mishra, decided to post details of assets of all the commissioners on the CIC website.

However, the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) is yet to show any such initiative. Even while the judges of the Supreme Court and several High Courts, including the Karnataka High Court, have made their assets available on the website, the Karnataka Information Commissioners have not.

Following the announcement of voluntary disclosures of assets by the CIC, the Karnataka Right to Information Federation, a network of organisations working in the field of RTI, has called upon the KIC to follow suit.

The Federation has said: “RTI is a law demanding transparency at every stage in public service which is steeped in so much dishonesty. Therefore, it is high time and the right time that all the seven Karnataka Information Commissioners, including their chief (two older and five newly sworn commissioners) should declare their assets and liabilities immediately without any delay.”

Case disposal

It is not just in transparency but also in efficiency that the KIC lags behind the CIC. Data from the Commission shows that the pendency of cases in Karnataka has shot up to nearly 13,000.

“About two years ago, this figure was about 7,000, and before that it was as low as 4,000,” said Anugraha S, an RTI and human rights activist.

“A major portion of the blame should be borne by the State government as it sat on the appointment of commissioners for about a year,” he adds.

In contrast, the CIC has now taken a decision that each  information commissioner
would dispose of 3,200 cases annually.

Even if the KIC adopts this policy, it will take a year for four commissioners to clear the backlog of 13,000 cases. 

Regional benches

The Karnataka Information Commission could also learn a lot from States such as Maharashtra, which have instituted regional benches for the functioning of the Commission.

A decision on the appointment of zonal commissioners at Gulbarga, Belgaum, and Mysore has been under government’s consideration for a long time.