NEW DELHI: Even as the central information commission (CIC) has been carrying out hearings using modes like video-conferencing during the lockdown, it turns out that as many as 21 information commissions out of a total of 29, were not holding any hearings related to Right to Information applications as of May 15.
These 21 states include the state information commissions of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
The findings are part of a report brought out by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES) that examines the functioning of ICs from the commencement of the lockdown on March 25, 2020 till May 15. The analysis of websites was undertaken between May 1 and May 11 and phone calls were made to information commissions between May 14 and May 18.
The analysis shows that only 7 of the 29 information commissions, made provision for taking up urgent matters or those related to life and liberty during the period when normal functioning was affected due to the lockdown. These were the CIC and the state information commissions of Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Punjab and Telangana. The SIC of Rajasthan made provision for hearing such matters, though only from May 4.
"Of the 29 ICs, two commissions – Jharkhand and Tripura – were found to have no commissioners for varying lengths of time. They were completely defunct as the serving information commissioner in both retired during the period of the lockdown," it is stated.
Of the 29 information commissions, four were functioning without a chief information commissioner- BihaRead More – Source