CIC demands full civil court powers and Power of Contempt

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New Delhi, Oct 17: The Right to Information (RTI) Act needs more teeth to deliver the desired result, the Central Information Commission told the Government today.

The Commission has demanded the powers of a civil court and the power of contempt to implement its orders besides status of a Supreme Court judge for central information commissioners, and of a high court judge for their state counterparts. It also wants penal provisions being invoked against public authorities who fail to fulfill their obligation under Section 4 of the RTI Act.

Besides, the CIC has demanded standardisation of the procedures of enquiry and of hearing appeals. It also wants an increase in fee for filing application under RTI so as to discourage non-serious applicants.

The need for these changes in the Act and rules emerged after a meeting of state chief information commissioners with the CIC, held here today to take stock of the working of the Act which completed two years of coming into being this month.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah presented a set of recommendations based on the outcome of the deliberations to Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Suresh Pachauri at the valedictory session of the conference here today.

The CIC wants that proceedings before the Commission be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Chapter 10 of the IPC.

The CIC has been conferred powers of a civil court u/s 18(3)which is only for a limited purpose. It wants powers of a civil court for execution of its decrees and recovering fine and conducting an enquiry.

Pointing out that there have been instances of non-compliance of orders passed by the Commission, it urged that specific provisions may be recommended to be included in the RTI Act itself for dealing with contempt proceedings.


UNI

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