The Maharashtra Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has directed the government authorities to create an e-register providing details of the applications filed under RTI Act, and also upload the information on the websites so that people can access it. Maharashtra CIC Ratnakar Gaikwad passed the order yesterday after hearing a complaint filed by the former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. In his complaint, Gandhi had said that as of now all the RTI applications submitted by citizens are being entered in a physical register maintained by the public information officer (PIO/APIO) in every office. "As a result, while the PIO knows the number and status of the RTI applications in his/her office, there is no mechanism by which senior officers and Heads of Departments can track the status of such applications.
Even an applicant is currently forced to keep contacting the concerned office to find out the status of the application," Gandhi's complaint said. Gaikwad, in his order, said, "The Commission orders that Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, should create an online RTI register in every office, which has a PIO, and put on a single platform all the RTI applications filed in every office at every level, and also upload this information on the websites of public authorities so that citizens can also access this vital information." Calling it a landmark order, Gandhi said, "Not only the applicants would be benefited with the implementation of this order, but it will also make it easy for the Commission to give its annual report to the Legislature." He also expressed hope that activists would try and persuade various state commissions and the Central Information Commission to issue similar orders.
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