Disposal of RTI pleas improved since outbreak of pandemic: Jitendra Singh

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NEW DELHI: Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said that the disposal of pleas filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had improved during the six months since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in March, as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
The disposal rate of RTI cases during March-September 2020 was recorded at 93.98%, way higher than the 76.49% rate during the same period of last year, Singh said during a meeting with officials of the Central Information Commission on the occasion of completion of 15 years of the RTI Act.
In absolute terms, he added, 8,015 of the total 8,528 RTI pleas registered during March-September this year were disposed of, as compared to 8,962 cases of total 11,716 registered cases during March-September, 2019.
Meanwhile, government sources told TOI that the Prime Minister-led selection panel under the RTI Act had met on October 7 to fill up vacant posts of Chief Information Commissioner and five Information Commissioners. The meeting was inconclusive and a second round is expected soon to finalise the appointments.
A DoPT release on Tuesday said the Central Information Commission has worked assiduously even during the lockdown period and despite the challenges of the pandemic, higher disposal of cases became possible due to extensive use of e-office and latest use of technological tools for facilitating the hearings in the Commission. CIC also ensured that audio and video hearings were held, to pave the way for smooth conduct of the hearings and facilitate participation of both the appellants and respondents. In this manner, the Commission ensured continuous disposal of cases.
From time to time, the CIC has been holding seminars, workshops and annual conventions to ensure interactions with RTI activists, general public, and the CPIOs and First Appellate Authorities for proper appreciation of the provisions of the RTI Act. Through this feedback mechanism, qualitative improvements have been brought about amongst all stakeholders. During the pandemic, video meetings were also held with stakeholders including RTI activists and former CICs/ICs to assist the Commission in moving forward with disposal of cases.

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