Kerala State Information Commission has backlog of over 5,000 petitions, reveals RTI query

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File | Photo Credit: PTI

About 5,280 appeal petitions are pending before the State Information Commission (SIC), as per an official reply to information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for the period between January 1, 2010 and May 31, 2022.

The appeals are filed in the Central and State Information Commissions, which act as transparency watchdogs under the Right to Information Act 2005, when a request for information is denied by a government body.

Of the 888 appeals received in 2022, 117 have been disposed of by the State Commission, according to information received by Raju Vazhakkala, an activist, under the RTI Act . In 2021, 1,059 of the 2,231 appeals received have been disposed of, while the backlog in 2020 was 780.

Stating that the State Information Commission was the last resort for people seeking information under the RTI Act, Mr. Raju said the delay in clearing the appeal petitions would deny the right of the citizen to get information under the provisions of the Act.

“We hope that the State Information Commission will take necessary steps to dispose of the pending appeals,” he said. Besides the Chief Information Commissioner, the State Information Commission at present has four Information Commissioners.

Commission’s claim

However, SIC sources claimed that the four State Information Commissioners, who assumed office in May 2018, had been clearing the backlog since 2011. The pending appeal petitions up to 2016 have been cleared, except for a few cases, as on July-end. The backlog recorded in 2017 will be cleared within a few months, they said.

The corresponding year, appeals received and disposed of, as per RTI reply — 2019 (2,852/2,110); 2018 (2,990/2,284); 2017 (2,832/2,038); 2016 (2,810/2,568); 2015 (3,169/3,100); and 2014 (3,326/3,313).

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 10:00:36 am |