Information Commissions ineffective, rue RTI activists

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Chandigarh, Sep 12 (UNI) Civil rights activists from the region have alleged that State Information Commissions in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were not doing their jobs efficiently and honestly.

''They are rather acting in a biased manner to accommodate corrupt bureacracy'' they alleged during an interaction with the media here today.

Mr Hitender Jain, Secretary of Resurgence India, said since the appointment of the Information Commissioners itself was incorrect and done in a biased manner so the inefficiency and bias towards bureacracy and politically sensitive issues was quite natural.

Showing the information received from Punjab Information Commission under the RTI Act, Mr Hitender pointed out that the Department did not even have the complete bio-data of the appointed information commissioners.

Only four line bio-data mentioning the name, date of appointment and retirement of the bureacrats in the service record was available for 5 of the 9 information commissioners while no bio-data was available for the other four, he said.

Social activist Hemant Goswami, Chairperson of Burning Brain Society, said there was no requirement of so many information commissioners in Punjab as the workload is low which actually did not warrant more than two efficient commissioners.

Number of hearings held in a month by any of the Punjab Information Commissioner was less than six and the cases decided were no more than 40 in a month by any information commissioner.

''The case of Haryana State Commission is even worse,'' activist Ajit Tomar of Citizens Voice said.

He said two retired chief secretaries in the state had been ''rehabilitated'' as Information Commissioners. ''Both sit in two different offices (which are just 400 meters apart) wasting millions of rupees on duplication of staff, equipments and other resources.

Mr Kamal Anand of the People for Transparency said that the State Government was bound under section 26(2) of the RTI Act to prepare a guide for the guidance of public within 18 months of the enactment.

The guide was still not available even after 27 months and the Department of Information Technology was still non-committal about the timeframe for publishing the guide, he alleged UNI

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