BHOPAL: The Right to Information ( RTI) Act, meant to ensure transparency in the functioning of the government, is being ignored in MP. The posts of information commissioners are still vacant and chief information commissioner ( CIC) Iqbal Ahmad is retiring on December 31.

Ahmad’s retirement will bring information commission on the verge of shutting down. The commission has stopped hearing appeals since December 13, leading to thousands of pending cases.

This scenario is also letting the officers off the hook as they are losing fear of RTI. They feel that nothing could harm them if they violate the RTI Act. The posts of information commissioner in the state are vacant for long time.The government has not done any preparation to fill up the post of CIC, which is getting vacant this month.

Ahmad maintains that as per the Supreme Court decision on September 13, the CIC should be a person having background of judicial services.

The Court also said during the hearing on appeals, the quorum must have two commissioners, out of which one should be a legal expert. Ahmad said he was the solitary CIC and there was no commissioner and legal expert in the commission, because of which hearing has been stopped.

RTI activist Ajay Dubey said the state government from the very beginning intends to weaken the RTI Act as it neither filled in all the vacancies in the commission nor the commissioner was ever given any staff for working. Dubey maintains that after the commission stopped holding hearing, the government offices have started showing reluctance in providing information under the RTI Act.

The RTI activists across the state will gather in the city soon to stage a dharna. Dubey claimed that the government does not want that the irregularities committed by it should come to the fore. So, it created a situation in which RTI Act appears to be gasping for breath. CIC to retire on December 31

CM has wrong intentions over RTI

L eader of opposition has alleged that corruption during the BJP rule reached its peak and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is afraid of getting exposed to the people. Singh claimed that the working of the commission has been intentionally stopped.

Citing the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood as testimony to the attacks on RTI activists, Singh accused the state government of not implementing the RTI Act in the state in letter and spirit.

Status of pending appeals and complaints

Appeals: Year 2009 782 Year 2010 995 Year 2011 2124 Complaints:Year 2009 837 Year 2010 477 Year 2011 263 Total cases 5,478

Will call meet soon : Mishra

State government spokesman and law minister Narottam Mishra said a meeting would soon be convened to appoint a CIC and fill in other posts. Mishra said he had discussed the issue with the chief minister and the state was serious about the proper implementation of the Act.

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