CIC case pendency touches 40,000 mark; panel remains headless

CIC case pendency touches 40,000 mark; panel remains headless
Over 40,000 complaints and appeals are pending in the Central Information Commission (CIC) which is working without its Chief for more than nine months.

A total of 40,051 cases -- comprising 32,531 appeals and 7,520 complaints filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act -- are pending in the Commission as on today, as per CIC official data.

Of these, 15,736 appeals and complaints are pending before the Chief Information Commissioner's bench. Rest of the cases are pending with seven Information Commissioners -- Vijai Sharma, Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi and Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu, it said. Three posts of Information Commissioners are vacant in the transparency watchdog.

Among the Information Commissioners, Sharma is tipped to be the next Chief Information Commissioner. His name is understood to have been cleared in a meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on June 1 with leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also the part of three-member selection committee headed by the Prime Minister, had also attended the meeting.

Last month, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi had attacked the Prime Minister over the delay in the appointments of Chiefs of CIC, CVC and Lokpal, saying the government feared transparency.

The delay in the appointment of Chief information Commissioner and Information Commissioners, which has resulted in high pendency, has been questioned by the RTI activists who have accused the government of "gradually killing" the transparency panel.
"With huge number of pending cases in CIC, the Commission requires drastic reforms including its Chief to work on Saturdays," said Lokesh Batra, RTI activist.
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