Curious Indians are prolific users of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and public authorities are unable to keep them satisfied. Indian citizens have filed close to 50 lakh RTIs in a year (2013-2014) but the number of rejections and appeals indicate that public authorities are often failing to give the information that people are seeking.
A country-wide study on the functioning of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and state information commissions by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reveals that the number of RTIs has increased exponentially . While the number of RTI applications in the Jammu & Kashmir has increased by 127%, the same for Rajasthan has almost doubled.Gujarat has recorded 41% increase in the number of RTI applications while Karnataka witnessed a 31% rise within a year.
The study `State of Information Commissions and the Use of RTI laws in India' by CHRI's Venkatesh Nayak found that public authorities under the central government received the most number of RTI applications in 2013-14 at 8.34 lakh (with 73% public authorities revealing the number of applicants). Maharashtra came in second with 7.03 lakh RTI applications. In fact, between the central government and Maharashtra, the two received 62% of RTI applications among the 12 commissions that submitted their details. If the increase in the num ber of RTIs is a heartening sign the rejections of applications are not. CIC reported that 60,127 RTI applications were rejected by public information officers in 2013-14, the number of firs appeals filed with various Firs Appellate Authorities was 57% higher at 94,945. “However, the number of first appeals is dis proportionately large and indi cates lack of satisfaction among RTI applicants with the information or reply provided by the PIOs,“ the report says.