Central Information Commission plays an important role in providing the information sought under the Right to Information. In this article, we will discuss the Central Information Commission in a simple and easy way and understand its various aspects;
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Central Information commission
Right to Information
The success of a democracy depends on many factors, one of which is transparency in governance and people’s access to correct information. Especially for a country with a huge population like India, it becomes even more important. By the way, the Indian Constitution ensures many fundamental rights. But Right to Information (RTI) is such a right which acts as an add on and also empowers other rights. Secondly, it maintains vigilance in the administration or authority and makes the government accountable.
Its beginning is considered to be from 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Through which everyone was given the right to seek and receive information through the media or any other medium.
In India, it was adopted in 2005 through an Act and provision was made for the formation of Information Commissions at the Center and the States.
“Right to Information” here means accessible information which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to—
(i) inspection of works, documents, records;
(ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) taking certified samples of materials;
(iv) to obtain information (where such information is stored in a computer or any other device) in the form of discs, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print outs.
“Information is the currency of democracy and plays an important role in the growth and development of any vibrant civilized society.”Thomas Jefferson – (3rd President of America)
Right to Information Act 2005
The Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 is an Act of the Government of India, which has been implemented for transparency in governance and to provide the right to information to the citizens.
Central Information Commission
The Central Information Commission was established on 12 October 2005 by the Central Government. It was established under the same Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI Act 2005) through official gazette notification. Thus it is a statutory body.
The Central Information Commission is an independent body, which investigates and resolves the complaints lodged in it. It hears complaints and appeals regarding offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc. functioning under the Central Government and Union Territories.
Composition of Central Information Commission
This commission consists of a Chief Commissioner and 10 Information Commissioners. All these are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee, that committee is headed by the Prime Minister, besides the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
The members who become the chairman and members of this commission should have sufficient experience of public life and they should have special experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass communication or administration etc.
He should not be a member of Parliament or any State Legislature. They should not hold any office of profit belonging to any political party and they should not carry on any profit making business or enterprise.
Tenure and service conditions of Central Information commission
The Chief Information Commissioner and other Commissioners can hold office for 5 years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. But they cannot be reappointed.
The President can remove the Chief Information Commissioner and other Commissioners from their office in the following ways:
1. If they have gone bankrupt; or
2. in the eyes of the President if he has been convicted in respect of an offense of moral turpitude; either
3. If he is holding any other office of profit during his tenure; or if they are physically or mentally incapable of performing their duties in the eyes of the President; either
4. They are found to be receiving any such benefit. affecting their work or impartiality.
Like in other commissions, the President can remove the chairman and other members of the commission from office on the ground of proven misbehavior or incapacity. But such cases have to be sent to the Supreme Court for investigation first, if the Supreme Court finds the case right after investigation, then it advises the President about this, after which the President can remove the Speaker and other members from office.
The salary, allowances and other conditions of service of the Chief Information Commissioner are similar to that of the Chief Election Commissioner . Similarly, the salary, allowances and other conditions of service of other Information Commissioners are similar to that of Election Commissioners . No unfavorable change can be made in their pay, allowances and other conditions of service during their service.
Powers and Functions of Central Information Commission
Complaints – Section 18
(1) It is the duty of the Information Commission to redress the following information and complaints received from any person under the RTI Act;
(a) When a person has been unable to submit a request to the Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer. either for the reason that there is no officer appointed under this Act, or the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or the State Assistant Public Information Officer, the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or any person specified under this Act other authority has refused to accept his application for information or appeal under this Act. (as the case may be)
(b) he has been refused the information sought under the RTI Act
(c) or the information sought by him has not been received within the stipulated time;
(d) if he thinks that the fee demanded in return for the information is not justified, or,
(e) if he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act, or
(f) in respect of any other matter relating to the request or receipt of records under this Act.
(2) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for making an inquiry in the matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof.
(3) The Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, while making inquiries in any matter, shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely: :-
- (a) summoning and enforcing the presence of persons and forcing them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
- (b) the need for search and inspection of documents;
- (c) receiving evidence on affidavit;
- (d) requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office;
- (e) to issue summons for the examination of witnesses or documents; And
- (f) any other matter which may be prescribed.
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act of Parliament or a State Legislature, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission may, in the course of inquiry into any complaint under this Act, examine any document or record under the control of a public authority. And production of this record cannot be denied on any ground.
Appeal – Section 19
(1) Any person who does not receive a decision within the specified time or is aggrieved by the decision of the Central Public Notice (as the case may be). appeal within thirty days of the expiry of such period to such officer who is superior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or the State
Penalty – Section 20
(1) While deciding a complaint or appeal, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer has refused to receive any application for information without reasonable cause or has not given the information within the time specified under or has mala fidely refused the request for information or willfully given false, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed the information, for every day until the application is received or information is given, shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees. However, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty five thousand rupees.
Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him.
Provided that the burden of proving that he has acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer.
How is the application for seeking information filed?
RTI According to Section 3 of the Act, an Indian citizen can obtain information under this Act.
As per Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, an application can be filed in writing to the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the concerned public authority from whom the information is required. It can also be filed online. The same can be filed on the link https://rtionline.gov.in
RTI What type of information can be obtained under the Act?
All information that may be obtained as defined in section 2(f) of this Act, such as records, memos, e-mails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars, orders, contract reports, papers, models, Data relating to material and information relating to any private body to which a public authority may have access under any other law for the time being in force, means any material in any form.
In which language can the application be filed?
RTI As per section 6(1) of the Act, an application can be made in English or Hindi or the official language of the region in which the application is made.
Where is the office of Central Information Commission located?
The office of this commission is located at CIC Bhawan, Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka, New Delhi-110067. Helpline Number – 011-26183053.
It is to be remembered here that this Commission does not have jurisdiction over the State Information Commission, nor can an appeal or complaint be made to the Commission against an order of the State Information Commission.
exempted public authority
Intelligence and security organizations included in the Second Schedule of the Act are exempted from providing information under the Act. However, if the requested information relates to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, this exemption does not apply.
So here are the important things related to the Central Information Commission , the State Information Commission also works more or less in the same way.