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Current Affairs

Central Information commission

Date: 28 November 2019 Tags: Constitution

Issue

The Central Information Commission was not consulted regarding the Right to Information Amendment Act, 2019 or the Rules of the Act, according to a RTI application.

 

Background

The Rules to the RTI Amendment Act were notified in October, and reduced the tenure of the Commissioners from five to three years, while also downgrading their status and allowances.

 

Details

  • The amendments to the transparency legislation were enacted in July, and gave the Centre the power to determine the tenure, salary and perks of the State and Central Information Commissioners.

  • RTI users and activists have warned that this move will dilute the autonomy and efficacy of the Commissions.

Central Information Commission

  • Central Information Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a Committee.

  • The Central Information commission was established in 2005 by the Government of India under the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005). It is a statutory body. Tenure is 5 years or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

Appointment

  • Committee consisting the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister as nominated by the Prime Minister. Approved by the President.

  • They should be persons of eminence in public life with experience and knowledge & Law, management, journalism, science & technology, administration & governance, mass media and social service.

  • They should not be members of legislative assembly of any state or Union territory.

  • They should not be connected with any political party or carrying any business, they should not hold any office of profit or pursuing any other profession.

Functions

  • It looks into complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, public sector undertakings, financial institutions etc., under the government and the Union territories.

  • It acts upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer.

Powers

  • The commission can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds.

  • The commission has the power to secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority.

  • The commission may recommend steps which ought to be taken for promoting such conformity, if public authority does not conform to the provisions of this act.

  • It is the duty of the commission to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person:

  • Who has not received response to his information request within the specified time limits;

  • Who thinks information given is incomplete, misleading or false and any other matter relating to obtaining information.

  • Who has not been able to submit an information request because of non-appointment of a Public Information Officer;

  • Who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable;

  • Who has refused information that was requested.

  • During the inquiry of a complaint, the commission may examine any record which is under the control of the public authority and no such record may be withheld from it on any grounds. In other words, all public records must be given to the commission during inquiry for examination.

  •  While inquiring, the commission has the powers of a civil court

  •  The commission submits an annual report to the central government on the implementation of the provisions of this act. The central government places this report before each house of Parliament