The Central Information Commission, which had over 35,000 cases before it at the start of 2016-17, has cleared a large part of the backlog and by February 2018 will only have to deal with cases filed this year, Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur said here today.
Mathur said from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017, 9,000 cases had been cleared.
"We had a pendency of about 35,000 cases as on April 1, 2016. On March 31, 2017, we had a pendency of 26,000 cases. What is more important is we had about 6,000 cases pending from 2015, from 2009, from 2010 etc. We have managed to clear them," he said.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 12th annual convention of the Commission, he said from February 2018, it would only hear cases filed in 2017.
"We embarked on a two-pronged strategy of zero tolerance towards corruption and protection to those performing their tasks with integrity and honesty," he said.
Singh said the number of RTI requests online had increased from 87,830 in 2014 to 2,68,920 in 2016-17.
The number of grievances lodged by the people had increased more than five times in recent years, from 1.5-2 lakh in 2014 to 11 lakh now, he said.
The increase, he said, was because of the government's "quick response" to grievances.
Mathur said courts have been trying to tackle backlogs, but being a smaller organisation, the CIC has been able to deal with the problem of pending cases.
"All the filings have been done on the computer. Hearings can be done on the computer and video conferencing. Registration is done within 48 hours. We have started an email and sms facility to keep track of appeals and complaints," he said.
Mathur said it had also started the process of a transparency audit.
With the help of a public interaction system, 3,500 queries of people had been answered, he said.
The Commission has started a new interface wherein public authorities can see on its website cases pending against them to ensure that they come prepared for a hearing.
The day-long annual convention revolved around issues related to proactive disclosures under the RTI Act, record keeping and emerging trends in the use of the transparency law.
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