Progress of cases filed since January can be tracked
Under fire from right to information activists over its ‘slow’ processing of complaints and appeals, the State Information Commission (SIC) of Kerala has decided to provide online tracking facility for complainants to asses the progress of cases from next week.
Those filing RTI appeals can track the steps taken by the authorities online and also press for disposing of the matter within the stipulated time frame.
“Those filing complaints and appeals before the commission will get unique registration numbers. Typing the same on the commission website, they can track the progress of their cases. This will end the delay and help the commission sort out the cases within the time frame,” said K. Rajaram Thampi, secretary of the commission.
According to him, progress of cases filed since January this year can be tracked at the initial stage. Complaints of previous years will come under the facility once they are uploaded.
According to Palakkad-based RTI activist P.M. Raveendran, the RTI Act stipulates that the commission should dispose of a case within 30 days of the filing of the complaint.
“Now, it takes three to four years to get an appeal petition considered. When I approached the commission seeking information on digitisation of land documents in Palakkad, it orally told me to consult the respective taluk officer. Then it took nearly three years to get a reply,” he said.
“There is inordinate delay even in responding to complaints. Commissioner Sony Thegamam has serious health issues and comes to office once in a while. Though Commissioner K. Natarajan’s picture still adorns its website, he was suspended long back from service,” says the Kochi-based RTI activist V.V. Binu.
“This is the eighth anniversary of the RTI Act. It is high time to review the entire RTI process. Though it had made many major gains, the loopholes must be plugged,” he said.
“At the Central Information Commission, each member disposes of at least 30 cases a day. In the Kerala High Court, there are judges who hear about 150 cases a day. However, each State information commission member hears a maximum of four cases a day. They reach office at 11 a.m. and leave by 12.30 p.m. It is high time to make the commission more responsible,” says another RTI activist V. Harish.