The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday ordered notice to the Centre and State in a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to increase the strength of Commissioners of Central and State Information Commission, for effective disposal of information.
The petitioner also sought a direction to the Centre and State to set up a branch of State Information Commission in Madurai for the convenience of the public.
A Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and T. Ravindran ordered notice to Centre and State in the PIL petition filed by M. Selvakumar of Kadambur in Thoothukudi district. In his petition, he said that there must be quick disposal of applications seeking information under the RTI Act.
When the information was refused from the authorities concerned, applications to the Central or State level commissions can be made.
A person seeking information from the government have to wait for 30 days for a reply. If he does not get one, he goes for first appeal before a first appellate officer. This application should be disposed of within 90 days. If even at this stage there was no success in getting information, the applicant may approach the Central and State level Information Commissions, he said.
When no remedy was available even after approaching the Commissions, the public or common man had no option but to approach the court for grievance redressal. In order to avoid this, the existing mechanism available under the RTI Act must be revamped, he said. The Commissions must take steps for quick disposal of second appeals and a time limit for such disposals must be fixed.
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