|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Explain how Central Information Commission has relinquished its primary duty in cases of larger public importance. Also write its importance.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.
The Central Information Commission was constituted under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The most vital mandate of the Central Information Commission, the apex body under India’s transparency regime, is to decide whether certain information sought by a citizen ought to be disclosed or not. Its primary duty is to decide the disclosure or the non-disclosure of information.
Relinquished its primary duty in cases of larger public importance:
- Decreased accountability: Records show that not a single order for disclosure has been forthcoming in matters of public importance.
- Adopted a new way of delegating its mandate: to decide cases to the Ministry before it, that stands accused of prohibiting transparency. In most cases, the Ministries reiterate their stand of non-disclosure, most often under vague grounds of national interest.
- Refusing its duty: The CIC refuses to accept any further challenge to orders by public authorities.
- Support to the violator: The commission now allows, or wants, the Ministry to act as the judge in their own cause and decide whether a disclosure is necessary.
- Delaying cases:g. in a case seeking disclosure of documents relating to the making of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, the commission has resorted to keeping the matter pending for final order for more than three months now.
- Bureaucrats reject RTIs with no fear of facing penal provisions outlined in Section 20 of the RTI Act, knowing well that they have a free hand under the Information Commissioners.
However CIC It had passed orders seeking transparency in many cases of public importance like:
- Political parties were under the RTI Act’s ambit, and hence accountable to the public.
- Ordering disclosure of the current Prime Minister’s education qualifications.
- The Reserve Bank of India’s list of willful defaulters of loans.
- In the past 17 years, it has been instrumental in uncovering a list of major scams. Scams like Adarsh Society Scam, 2G scam, Commonwealth Games Scam, Indian Red Cross Society Scam etc.
Citizens have to mount intense pressure on authorities to act and appoint commissioners of integrity. Lawyers have to help willing citizens take matters to court and seek justice.