HC ask SIC to dispose of RTI appeals within 45 days

Hearing a petition claiming that the West Bengal State Information Commission had kept an appeal pending since May 29, 2009, Justice Jayanta Biswas directed the commission to dispose of the appeal within 45 days.

Passing the order in a specific case, the court observed that 45 days is a reasonable time for disposing of such appeals.

Akhil Roy, controller of Civil Defence in Kolkata, filed a writ petition before the High Court seeking an order on WB Information Commissioner to dispose of his appeal.
On May 25, 2009, Roy made the appeal before the SIC under RTI Act for some information relating to a case started by the State Vigilance Commission against him.

Roy's counsel Billwadal Bhattacharya submitted that in case of first prayer for information before principal information officer, the time limit is 30 days, while an appeal against the PIO's findings or its not responding before the first appellate authority has a time frame of 30-45 days.

But in case of the second appeal before the State Information Commissioner, the highest authority in a state with regard to RTI Act related information, the Act is silent about any time frame, Bhattacharya submitted.

Justice Biswas, while passing the order on Roy's petition, observed that this was a flaw in the Act and that 45 days should be a reasonable time for disposing of appeals by the SIC.

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