Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Citizens who prefer appeal before the State Information Commission against refusal of public authorities to provide information sought under the provisions of the Right to Information Act will have a choice regarding appearance before the Commission during the hearing of the case.

According to Rules notified by the Government, the appellant can opt not to be present during the hearing.

He can also chose to be present in person or through a duly authorised representative, who need not be a legal practitioner. Appellants will get notice seven days before the date of hearing.

Appeals can be submitted either in a prescribed form or in any other format containing the particulars mentioned in the prescribed form.

Every appeal should be accompanied by self-attested copies of the orders or documents against which the appeal is being preferred, copies of the documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in the appeal and an index of the documents.

In deciding appeal, the Commission may take oral or written evidence on oath or on affidavit; peruse or inspect documents, public records or copies thereof; inquire through authorised officer to gather further details of facts and hear parties including third parties.

The particulars to bementioned in the complaint include date of submission of application for information, date of submission of first appeal, particulars of information sought, name of office or department concerned, particulars of disposal of application by the State Public Information Officer, particulars of disposal of first appeal by the Appellate Authority against which the appeal is preferred, date of receipt of decision/order of the Appellate Authority (if decision/order passed) and last date for filing appeal, brief facts leading to the appealand other relevant information, if any.

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