Going by the present rate of disposal, one may have to wait for 18 years to get information in Andhra Pradesh if the matter is being heard by the state information commission, a report by two voluntary groups claimed on Friday.
In their study, Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES) analysed backlog data of appeals and complaints before information commissions across the country based on which they tried to put together an estimated period when the pleas will be heard by the transparency panels.
The analysis shows that if an appeal or complaint was filed on April 1, 2019, it will be heard 18 years later in 2037, going by the present rate of disposal in Andhra Pradesh.
In West Bengal, it can be heard in seven years and five months, while for Odisha the waiting period is four years and three months and two years and three months in Kerala, the report said.
According to the report, the West Bengal Information Commission has shown a remarkable improvement since 2017 when it would have taken 43 years to hear a case.
The Central Information Commission is one of the best technologically equipped transparency panels with the waiting period for an appeal filed on April 1 this year being one year and seven months, the report said.
"In the CIC, the estimated waiting time nearly doubled between November 1, 2017 and April 1, 2019 going up from 10 months to one year and six months," it said.
During the period under review in the assessment, at one point, the CIC was functioning with only three commissioners out of the sanctioned strength of 11 posts as eight posts, including that of the Chief Information Commissioner, were vacant, the report said.
Finally in January 2019, on the intervention of the Supreme Court, four new appointments were made but four vacancies still persist, it said.
Information Commissions in Northeastern states have best statistics to show in terms of pendency of cases with zero wait periods in Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura while Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have waiting period of one, two and three months respectively, it said.
"The estimate shows that 11 Information Commissions across the country would take more than one year to dispose an appeal/complaint. In most of these ICs, the reason for the long waiting time for disposal of appeals and complaints can be traced to vacancies in the posts of commissioners not being filled in a timely manner," the report said.
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