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Central Information Commission (CIC) is not a constitutional body but an independent body, which look into complaints and appeals concerning to offices, public sector undertakings, financial institutions etc., under the government and the Union territories. Under the Government of India to take action upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to present information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer.
About Central Information Commission
The Central Information commission was set up in 2005 by the Government of India under the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005). The Central Information Commission plays a major role in keeping transparency in the system of the governance which is necessary in the democracy. That kind of transparency is essential to examine corruption, nepotism, oppression and misuse or abuse of the officials.
Composition of Central Information Commission
The Central Information Commission comprises of the Central Information Commissioner and more than 10 Information commissioners. The President of India designates the Chief Information commissioner and the information commissioners on the proposal of the committee comprising of the Prime Minister as chairperson, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and union cabinet ministers suggested by the Prime Minister.
They should be renown person in public life with experience and knowledge in Law, management, journalism, science & technology, administration & governance, mass media and social service. They should not be members of legislative assembly of any state or Union territory. They should not be associated with any political party or having any business, they should not bear any office of profit or running after any other profession.
Tenure and Service
The Chief Information commissioner and an information commissioner possesses office for five years or until they reach the age of 65 years. They are not allowed for reappointment.
Functions and Powers of the Central Information Commission
Following are the powers and functions of the Central Information Commission:
a. The commission can command inquest into any matter if there are sensible reasons.
b. The commission has the ability to protect compliance of its decisions from the public authority.
c. The commission may put forward steps which ought to be taken for encouraging such affinity, if public authority does not follow to the provisions of this act.
d. It is the responsibility of the commission to collect and investigate into a complaint from any individual:
- Who has not acquired reply to his data request within the given time limits;
- Who believes data provided is not complete, misleading or false and any other matter relating to getting data;
- Who could not present a data request due of non-appointment of a Public Information Officer;
- Who believes the fees charged are not reasonable;
- Who has denied data that was asked.
e. At the time of investigation of a complaint, the commission may evaluate any file which is under the control of the public authority and no such file may be hold back from it on any reasons. In other words, all public datas must be provided to the commission at the time of investigation for evaluation.
f. During the investigation, the commission has the powers of a civil court such as:
- Call and apply the presence of peoples, and force them to provide oral or written proof on vow and present files or things.
- Need the location and evaluation of documents.
- Get proof on testimony.
- Claim public files or copies from any office or court.
- Issue calls for the inspection of documents or witnesses.
- Any other matter that may be ordered.
g. The commission presents an annual report to the central government on the application of the provisions of this act. The central government presents this report before each house of Parliament.
Right to Information Act (RTI Act)
Right to Information Act (RTI Act) was passed, so that searching data becomes simple, effortless, time bound and cheap that makes the Act successful, effective and powerful. The abilities of the commission are restricted only to give details and not to act upon it, even if there are abnormalities. The commission has less number of staffs and more number of cases. The vacant posts in the commission are not appointed on time. Because to these reasons, there is a enormous arrears with the commission.
The RTI Act applies only on government institutions and not on private enterprises. Even some public titinutions ssuch as BCCI insists that they don’t come under the range of this law. The political parties are unwilling to disclose information about their financing and other activities with the public.
Salaries of CIC and ICs Under Right to Information Rules 2019
The RTI Act, 2005 stated the tenure, terms of service, and salaries of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) at the central and state levels, in the parent law. The RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 detached these provisions and specified that the central government will inform the period and amount of salary through rules.
- It stated that the Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner (of Centre as well as States) shall hold office for such term as specified by the Central Government. Before this amendment, their term was fixed for 5 years.
- It detached the provisions concerning reductions in salary of the Chief Information Commissioner, an Information Commissioner, the State Chief Information Commissioner, and a State Information Commissioner due to pension or any other retirement benefits received by them for their previous government service.
- It stated that the salary, allowances, and other service conditions of the Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner (of Centre as well as States) shall be such as prescribed by the Central Government.
Thus, the unfilled position in the commission should be appointed as early as possible. An analytic inquiry should be done to know the count of people needed to effectively run the commission. All the public institutions should be made accountable to the public under the RTI Act. People should be able to ask information from political parties, so that become more liable and their sources of financing more clear. This would also investigate use of black money in the elections. Moreover, those private organizatios should also come under the limit of the act which is affected in public works.
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