Monday, November 15, 2010

CIC to enforce disclosures by 330 public authorities

In a landmark move, the Central Information Commission (CIC) is set to enforce ‘voluntary disclosure’ by 330 public authorities, including all ministries, government departments and public sector undertakings. Right to Information (RTI) activists have argued that timely disclosures under Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005, would likely have brought alleged scams like those in the allocation of 2G spectrum and Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society to notice earlier. RTI provisions are now set to be used to give public authorities a deadline to implement the hitherto “obligatory” disclosures. Besides other requirements of voluntary disclosure, Section 4 provides for a public authority to make public “all relevant facts while formulating important policies or arriving at decisions which affect the public”. Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari told The Sunday Express that orders would be issued to 330 public authorities early next week, giving them 120 days to implement the provisions of Section 4. “The order will be signed by all members of the Commission... It is being done on the basis of an analysis of the generality of appeals which have not been complied with,” Tiwari said.

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