Data | Poor voluntary disclosure and high vacancies have led to huge backlog of RTI requests

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurating a workshop on the Right to Information Act in the city on Wednesday.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurating a workshop on the Right to Information Act in the city on Wednesday.  


Data show that the highest number of RTIs requests are filed in Maharashtra but, as in other States, backlogs are due to voluntary dissemination by public authorities and because of Information Commission vacancies.

Chief Justice S.A. Bobde recently observed that the Right to Information Act was being abused and spoke about the Maharashtra administration being "paralysed". He argued for filtering requests based on locus standi.

High volume State

The graph shows the average number of RTIs filed per year and the absolute number of appeals/complaints filed, between 2005 and 2016 for all States. Maharashtra received more RTIs per year than the Central government in the period.

Requests aplenty


Poor disclosures

The RTI act mandates Public Authorities (PA) to suo motu disclose information. Such disclosures will decrease citizen requests as they will not seek information already available. A transparency audit by the government found poor levels of such disclosures among 2092 central PAs. In fact, nearly 60% of the PAs did not respond to the audit.

Audit performance


For instance, 515 PAs got the poorest grade for voluntary disclosure and 292 PAs got the poorest grade in overall performance.

Vacancies aplenty

Also, not fulfilling up vacancies on time has led to piling up of backlogs. The list shows vacancies in various Information Commissions which were not filled on time as of October 2019.

Lack of manpower


Rejection rate

By increasing disclosures and filling vacancies, the RTI load can be eased. But, if the locus standi of applicants is made a criteria, the rejection rate, which has steadily declined over time, will rise significantly.

All-time low


Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 6:59:59 AM |

Next Story