Reduce the Number of Pendent Cases, Urges Retd. CIC Shailesh Gandhi
Aravind Natarajan 16 March 2020
Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in an open letter wrote to the current Maharashtra State Chief Information Commissioner Sumit Mullick requesting that he advocate with the government and involve citizens for appointment of new commissioners in order to reduce pendency of appeals and complaints. 
 
In his letter he wrote, “With humility I would like to point out that it is the job of the Commission to breathe down the neck of the government to persuade them to make the appointments. If you are not able to deliver due to the Government’s laxity, the Commission should share this with citizens so that together we can make our right effective.”
 
There are over 57,000 appeals and complaints pending with the commission and many of them are pending for over two to three years. Expressing his disappointment, Mr Gandhi further writes, “For a law which promises to deliver information within 30 days a wait of years before the Information Commission makes the law irrelevant. This has also made the PIOs very brazen in not honouring the citizen’s right in Article 19 (1)(a) and made a mockery of the promise by parliament.”
 
Mr Mullick in 2018 when he had met with Mr Gandhi had assured that all the commissioners would be able to dispose about 890 cases in a month and had also promised decision within 60-90 days. However Mr Gandhi in his letter points out how that never happened, He writes, “A look at the Commission’s disposals for January and February 2020 reveal that about 4500 appeals were decided in this period. Commissioner Shri D.L. Dharurkar alone has disposed over 2000 cases. This means the other four Commissioners disposed an average of about 300 cases per month”. While it might seem like disposing 890-900 cases a month is a mammoth task, Mr Gandhi points out how his predecessor Mr Ratnakar Gaikwad disposed off 5 cases in 20 minutes which shows that it is possible to dispose 900 cases a month. 
 
Ending it on a hopeful note, Mr Gandhi concludes his letter by writing, “This is one of the best transparency laws in the world and the credit for this goes to parliament and the citizens. We cannot allow it to become infructuous by neglect and carelessness.
 
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