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Right to Information appeals go hi-tech

By Staff

{image-Right to Information_14102008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Mumbai, Oct 14: Right to Information (RTI) appeals before the information commissioner will now be heard through video-conferencing. The technology that will save time and money and accelerate the disposal rate of cases pending in appeal, was installed on Monday, Oct 14 in coordination with the state information technology department and state information commission.

"Earlier, for appeals coming before the appellate authority, the officer related to the query and the applicant had to be present for the hearing, but this will not be the case once appeals are heard through video-conferencing,'' said Kshatrapati Shivaji, secretary, IT. According to the new system, the officer and the appellate can go to the nearest district collector's office, exchange their queries and get the issue resolved, Shivaji added.

For the period starting from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007, Maharashtra received 3.16 lakh applications under RTI. Of these, applicants who were unhappy with the information provided to them went in appeal to the information commissioner. Such appeals will now be heard using the new technology.

"This system will save the energy and time of the government employee who earlier had to travel all the way to the venue fixed for hearing the appeal,'' said Suresh Joshi, the state information commissioner. If the system is successful, the full-fledged use of this technology will start after Diwali, he added.

Recently addressing the media at Mantralaya, Joshi had said, "I am happy with the job done by the information officer, but not with the first appellate and I have registered my complaint with chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.''

According to the state information commission, the number of RTI applications received by the state is much higher then the application received by the Central Information office. The maximum of the RTI applications demand information related to the state urban development department followed by housing department, reveals the statistics of the SIC.

The act came into existence in the state on October 12, 2005, and to ensure that more awareness about RTI across the state, the SIC has suggested inclusion of a chapter on RTI for secondary level students.

OneIndia News

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