STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION
STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION
|BASICS AND BACKGROUND|
- The Right to Information Act of 2005 provides for the creation of not only the Central Information Commission but also a State Information Commission at the state level.
- All the states have constituted the State Information Commissions through Official Gazette Notifications.
- The RTI Act overrides the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
- CIC will be independent high-level bodies to act as appellate authorities and vested with the powers of a civil court.
- It entertains complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc., under the concerned state government.
- To empower the citizens
- To promote transparency and accountability
- To contain corruption
- To enhance people’s participation in democratic process.
- The Commission consists of a State Chief Information Commissioner and not more than ten State Information Commissioners.
|The number of State Information Commissioners varies from one state to another state.|
- Appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of-
- Chief Minister as Chairperson,
- Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly
- State Cabinet Minister nominated by the Chief Minister.
- They should be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
- Should not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory.
- Should not hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.
|Where the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly has not been recognized as such, the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the Legislative Assembly shall be deemed to be the Leader of the Opposition.|
- The State Chief Information Commissioner and a State Information Commissioner shall hold office for such term as prescribed by the Central Government or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier (RTI amendment 2019)
- The State Information Commissioner is eligible for appointment as State Chief Information Commissioner but cannot hold office for more than a total of five years including his term as State Information Commissioner.
- The salary, allowances and other service conditions of the State Chief Information Commissioner and a State Information Commissioner shall be such as prescribed by the Central Government (RTI amendment 2019)
- They cannot be varied to his disadvantage during service.
Governor can remove the State Chief Information Commissioner or any State Information Commissioner from the office under the following circumstances:
- If he is adjudged an insolvent; or
- Convicted of an offence which (in the opinion of the Governor) involves a moral turpitude; or
- Engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
- He is (in the opinion of the Governor) unfit to continue in office due to infirmity of mind or body; or
- Acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his official functions.
- The Governor can also remove the State Chief Information Commissioner or any State Information Commissioner on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- The Governor has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an enquiry.
- If the Supreme Court, after the enquiry, upholds the cause of removal and advises so, then the Governor can remove him.
|POWERS AND FUNCTIONS|
- It is the duty of the Commission to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person:
- who has not been able to submit an information request because of non-appointment of a Public Information Officer (PIO)
- who has been refused information that was requested;
- who has not received response to his information request within the specified time limits;
- who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable;
- who thinks information given is incomplete, misleading or false; and
- any other matter relating to obtaining information.
- The Commission can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds (suo-moto power).
- While inquiring, the Commission has the powers of a civil court in respect of the following matters:
- summoning and enforcing attendance of persons and compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
- requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
- receiving evidence on affidavit;
- requisitioning any public record from any court or office; issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and
- any other matter which may be prescribed.
- All public records must be given to the Commission during inquiry for examination.
- The Commission has the power to secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority. This includes:
- providing access to information in a particular form;
- directing the public authority to appoint a Public Information Officer where none exists;
- publishing information or categories of information;
- making necessary changes to the practices relating to management, maintenance and destruction of records;
- enhancing training provision for officials on the right to information;
- seeking an annual report from the public authority on compliance with this Act;
- requiring the public authority to compensate for any loss or other detriment suffered by the applicant;
- imposing penalties under this Act; and
- rejecting the application.
- The State Information Commission submits an annual report to the State Government on the implementation of the provisions of this Act. The State Government places this report before the State
- When a public authority does not conform to the provisions of this Act, the Commission may recommend (to the authority) steps which ought to be taken for promoting such conformity.