3588 petitions disposed in single CIC-order: Remedies required for early disposal of petitions at CIC
It refers to 139-page CIC-verdict dated 19.11.2015 in petition-numbers CIC/CC/A/2014/001053 etc disposing 3588 petitions of a retired IAF officer against different public-authorities where the petitioner hinted more his regular petitions pouring at CIC. Chief Information Commissioner while giving required relief under eight points in para 37 of the verdict, directed in para 38 of the verdict his own registry to with the objective of putting in place a system for handling RTI applications that appear to be vexatious in nature and scope.
It is surprising why and how Chief Information Commissioner could direct his own registry to place the matter before himself rather than himself spelling out in the verdict himself, a system for handling RTI applications that appear to be vexatious! It seems that present Chief Information Commissioner kept departments having such large number of pending petitions of individual petitioners with himself just for increasing his disposal rate in his short tenure.
Remedy to tackle such situation of large number of petitions relating to grievances lies in:
- a) Immediate legislation of‘Right-To-Services & Grievances Bill 2014’
- b) A system like ‘Lok Adalat’ should be formulated at CIC where mass disposal of pending petitions can be done with help of experts. Even Supreme Court has authenticated such a system with National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) having organised these from Supreme Court to Taluk Courts.
- c) RTI-fees should be raised to rupees fifty with first twenty copied pages free-of-cost, but with such fees being uniform for all public-authorities and states as repeatedly advised by DoPT circulars. It will check repeated petitions being filed on single aspect apart from checking misuse of the transparency-Act and saving man-hours and postal-expenses of both the public-authorities and petitioners without burdening genuine petitioners who will be getting service worth rupees fifty as at present in form of free-of-cost twenty copied pages of documents.
- d) Time-bound decision at CIC with maximum one week for single-bench verdicts and one month for full-bench verdicts after completion of hearing
- e) Time of CIC-officers must not be wasted with all of them over-occupied for several months in preparation of annual CIC-convention, like happened this year when about 10000 incoming mail-envelopes could not be opened for two months with admitted this very reason, better option being abolition of system of CIC-convention!