New Delhi: Paving the way for clearing the backlog of over 15,000 pending cases, the Delhi High Court has directed that these cases be distributed among other Information Commissioners for expeditious disposal.
"It is felt necessary to direct the CIC to distribute the cases, allocated administratively to the Chief Information Commissioner, to all Information Commissioners, who will then take up the matter according to seniority, and ... Expedite the hearing of the cases falling within their respective domains," Justice Rajiv Shakdher has said.
While the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has been lying vacant since August 22 last year, the CIC registry has 15,354 complaints and appeals pending before it, according to CIC data.
The view in the CIC has been that since the decision to distribute cases lie with the CIC, who is the administrative head of the panel, the allocation of cases cannot be done by any other serving Information Commissioner.
The present order follows a recent directive of Justice Shakdher asking the Commission to allot cases pending with the office of the Chief Information Commissioner to the senior most Information Commissioner.
In his petition, activist J K Mittal had claimed that his case was pending for nearly six months and not getting disposed as there was no CIC in place.
Responding to the notice CIC has said each Information Commissioner, presently in position, carries a heavy case load and therefore no general direction can be issued.
The last Chief Information Commissioner, Rajiv Mathur, had retired without issuing any orders to distribute cases pertaining to sensitive departments like PMO, Atomic Energy, CBI, DOPT etc among other Information Commissioners.