“This state of affairs is throttling the functioning of the RTI Act which is not good for democracy as the main purpose behind passing the RTI Act was to ensure transparency in the system,” submitted Advocate Prashant Bhushan
The Supreme Court has directed Union of India and states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Karnataka to file their status report indicating the steps which have been taken for filling up of vacant posts in Central and State Information Commissions.
The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, while considering a PIL filed by Anjali Bhardwaj, also directed these states to explain within a week the manner in which these posts are sought to be filled.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for Bhardwaj, brought to the notice of the court, through a chart, the status of vacancies in Information Commissions in the country.
The chart contains status of vacancies, as on date of filing of PIL, as per affidavit, and as on 2 December. It stated that Central Information Commission as of now is functioning with only three commissioners, and eight vacancies, including that of Chief Information Commissioner, are to be filled up. Details about the vacancies with regard to various State Information Commissions are also given in the chart.
Advocate Bhushan contended that not only in the Central Information Commission, but also in the State Information Commissions posts are lying vacant and no effective steps are taken in filling of these vacancies.
“This state of affairs is throttling the functioning of the RTI Act which is not good for democracy as the main purpose behind passing the RTI Act was to ensure transparency in the system,” he submitted before the court.
The bench then directed the Union and concerned states to file status report and posted the matter on 13 December.