Chandigarh, July 18
The Haryana Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Mr G. Madhavan, today said awareness about the Right to Information (RTI) Act was yet to percolate down to the masses.
“Nearly 80 per cent of the complaints and appeals that we are getting come from retired and serving government officers. The ‘janta-janardhan’ is yet to wake up to the RTI Act,” Mr Madhavan told media persons here.
The interaction was organised by the PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia), an NGO, as a sideshow of the two-day workshop organised by it on the RTI Act.
Mr Madhavan said so far 60 cases had been decided by the State Information Commission since his appointment as the first CIC of Haryana in November last year. He said while 15 were cases of appeal, the remaining 45 were related to complaints.
He said there was a provision in the RTI Act under which a complaint could be forwarded to the Information Commission (the final appellate authority) instead of the first appellate authority who was an officer of the department concerned.
The CIC said the Commission was not declaring a case as closed before ensuring compliance by the department concerned.
He said the Commission had asked the state government to ensure proper display of the names of Public Information Officers (PIOs) and also accept cash, postal orders and demand drafts as a fee for seeking information.
Mr Madhavan said the fee structure fixed by Haryana for the RTI Act was modelled on other states and that he had not received any communication from any quarter so far for reducing the fee.
The CIC said he had toured several districts of the state to spread awareness about the RTI Act. During the tours, he found that rural people had hardly any knowledge of the Act. The PIOs designated by the government will be given training at Gurgaon to make them conversant about various aspects of the Act, Mr Madhavan stressed.