Bhopal: As many as 11,441 appeals and complaints under Right to Information Act are pending with the Madhya Pradesh Information Commission which is currently functioning without a chief and other commissioners.
A total of 9,946 appeals and 1,495 complaints are pending against various state government departments for failing to give desired information sought by applicants under the transparency legislation, according to documents, updated till September 2012, accessed under RTI by an activist, Ajay Dubey.
The Madhya Pradesh Information Commission is working without a Chief and other Commissioners apparently due to lack of guidance from the Centre on a Supreme Court judgement which said that only retire judges can be appointed in the transparency panel.
The apex court has further said that a two-member bench, comprising a member from legal background, can hear appeals pending with the Commission.
All eleven posts -- one Chief Information Commissioner and ten Information Commissioners -- are vacant in the Information Commission and it has stopped hearing any matters since September 13 last year.
According to the documents received by Dubey, the Madhya Pradesh Government has sought direction from Personnel Ministry in this regard.
The RTI activist said, "The state government is delaying the appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and other Information Commissioners in the State Information Commission by citing legal issues. The Centre has already said that appeals and complaints can be resolved without having members as retired judges."
Dubey said that Right to Know should be a basis for voting. "If citizens right to know are being clamped, they should not vote that government also," he said.
The RTI Act 2005 mandates disclosure of information related to all matters of governance. As per the Act, there has to be a Chief Information Commissioner and a maximum of ten information commissioners.