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It Can't Go on Like This: SC Tells Govt on Huge Vacancies in CIC, State Information Commissions

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri expressed strong displeasure over the fact that the government's failure in appointing Information Commissioners has adversely impacted CIC and SICs across the country.

Utkarsh Anand | News18.com

Updated:July 2, 2018, 4:31 PM IST
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It Can't Go on Like This: SC Tells Govt on Huge Vacancies in CIC, State Information Commissions
File photo of Supreme Court of India.
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government over vacancies in Central and State Information Commissions, and observed that the state of affairs has been affecting many institutions in the country.

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri expressed strong displeasure over the fact that the government's failure in appointing Information Commissioners has adversely impacted CIC and SICs across the country.

"Look at the vacancies in these bodies. In fact. This has become a phenomenon in various institutions in the country. How will they function like this?" the bench asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand.

The ASG was present in the Court to attend other cases but when the PIL by activists Anjali Bhardwaj and Lokesh Batra came up for the hearing, the bench called upon her.

"Thousands of applications are pending..their functioning has been suffering. Do something about it," Justice Sikri told Anand.

The ASG, on her part, replied that she would examine the issue and will revert.

The judge then made it clear: "It cannot go on like this. Please look into it."

The bench subsequently issued notices to the Centre and eight states, and sought their responses in three weeks.

Arguing for the PIL, advocate Kamini Jaiswal said that there are 40,000 RTI cases pending before CIC and SICs and that their disposal will take years in wake of the mammoth vacancies. She also pointed out that by the end of November this year, CIC will be left with only three Information Commissioners and no chief as against 11 posts.

Jaiswal, assisted by advocate Pranav Sachdeva, added that the purpose of the RTI Act is being frustrated by not appointing ICs.

The eight states, which have been sent notices by the Supreme Court, include West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka and Telangana.
| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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