India

Online Petition Urges Modi to Appoint CIC

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Sensing a huge backlog with close to 25,000 appeals and complaints under Right to Information Act (RTI), pending due to the vacant seat of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), activists have initiated an online petition urging the Prime Minister to appoint a CIC at the earliest.

While vocalising their concern about the RTI Act being under threat, the activists wonder that how can the CIC responsible for adjudicating RTI appeals, function effectively without a Chief Information Commissioner?

Yet for the first time since the landmark legislation was passed in 2005, there is no Chief Information Commissioner in the CIC. The post has remained vacant since August 22, 2014. “This massive delay in appointing a new Chief is severely hampering the working of the Information Commission. There is already a huge backlog in the Commission with close to 25,000 appeals and complaints pending.

This ever-increasing backlog of cases challenges the citizen’s fundamental Right to Information and creates roadblocks in fighting corruption, big and small”, says the petition.

Activists have directly questioned Modi that despite his much stressed terms like ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘quest for transparency’ as the driving forces of good governance program, how can such a key institution to fight corruption remain rudderless?

According to media reports, the delay in appointing a new Chief is because there is no Leader of Opposition. However, the RTI Act clearly states that in the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition, the leader of the single largest opposition party should be part of the committee to appoint the new chief.

The RTI Act is one of the most empowering legislations for citizens and there are millions of examples from across the country on how people have successfully used RTI to hold the government accountable.

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