While CIC awaits the appointment of the new chief, the dependence on complaints and appeals increases to more than 34,000

NEW DELHI: With activists citing a pending count of more than 34,000 appeals and complaints, the Central Information Commission is back in the news for being without a chief information commissioner since the CIC retreat last week. In addition to these four positions of information commissioner in the CIC they are vacant, which puts the total force in six information commissioners in the CIC against the total force of 11, including a chief.

“The chief information officer, Sudhir Bhargava, retired on 11th 2020. It was a routine withdrawal and his retirement date was known from the moment Bhargava assumed the position of chief. Despite this, the government did not appoint the next chief information commissioner in a timely manner and has allowed the CIC to become headless, said activist Anjali Bhardwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan.

“Currently, 5 positions of information commissioners in the CIC, including that of the Chief, are vacant. Until January 15, the number of pending cases is almost 34,500 above the 27,364 of January 1, 2019. Of the 5 vacancies in the CIC, 4 have persisted since November 2018, ”reads the SNS statement .

In February 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered the government to fill the vacancies in the information commissions without delay when starting the appointment process one or two months before the date on which the vacancy occurs to minimize the delay.

In the instructions of the Supreme Court, although an announcement was issued inviting applications for four vacancies in January 2019, they have not been filled to date, Bhardwaj said.

Another public interest litigation () was filed before the Supreme Court in September 2019 due to breach of its order. In its order of December 16, 2019, the higher court ordered the government to place the names of the search committee in the public domain and complete the appointment process within three months.