New Delhi: In a major procedural change, the Central Information Commission has done away with the mandatory provison of sending signed hard copy of appeals through post even though the appellant approached it online.
Earlier, it was mandatory for an applicant, filing complaints and appeals online, to send a signed hard copy through post to the CIC, negating the objective of online process.
It was only after a hard copy was received that the process of considering the appeal or a complaint was initiated as till then only a provisional number was allotted.
The new Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur has stopped the practice of seeking the hard copy of the appeal and complaint, sources said, adding that the only condition is that the appellant should be present at the time of hearing.
The appellants can now file their complaints and appeals on "http://rti.India.Gov.In" and upload supporting documents, the link of which is also given on the site, thus doing away with the need of any hard copy or any paper exchange.
The Commission is also trying to implement digitisation of proceedings, tentatively by June this year, so that all its operations can be totally paperless. A direction has been given to ensure that files of all new cases are in electronic format only.
The move comes as the Commission has full capacity of Information Commissioners for the first time in its history, following instructions by the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court in this regard.
The Commission is grappling with over 35,000 pending cases as backlog had piled up in the nine months between August 22, 2014, when the then chief Rajiv Mathur demitted office, and June 9, 2015, when his successor Vijai Sharma was appointed.
The need for digitisation was felt when it emerged recently that 13,000 case files have been dumped along with the nearly two lakh files which were supposed to be weeded out as no further action was needed.
During a review of the registry maintenance process, it had recently emerged that of the 35,000 pending cases before Information Commissioners, actual files of only about 21,000-22,000 cases were available.
The stock-taking exercise showed that about 13,000 case files over the years were dumped along with the files which have been disposed of, the sources said.
The mix-up necessitated a segregation process which is delaying weeding out of unnecessary records.
Mathur who took over as the Chief Information Commissioner this January has set up a team under the Registrar of the Commission which is working even on Sundays to clean up and streamline the central registry by June this year.