Skip to main content

Average rejection rate of RTI pleas: 7% in Govt of India, 21% in PM Office

By Venkatesh Nayak*
The preliminary findings are based on a quick study of the Annual Report of the Central Information Commission (CIC) for the year 2013-14 (click HERE to download) suggest that, overall, there is a drop in the percentage of public authorities reporting to the CIC on their right to information (RTI) stats. More than a quarter of the public authorities have not reported their RTI stats to the CIC. The reporting compliance rose in 2012-13 but fell again in 2013-14. The highest rate was in 2005-06 followed by 2007-08 when the reporting was more than 85%. CIC is not able to compel a large number of public authorities to submit data.
This is cause for concern. RTI activists should demand that departmental action be initiated against the senior officers of these errant ministries and departments for violating the civil service conduct rules. Last year the Conduct Rules for all All-India Services Officers (IAS, IPS and IFoS) were amended to make transparency and accountability core values. Not adhering to a core value could potentially be treated as misconduct.
Parliament (Secretariats of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) has never given RTI stats to the CIC even once in the last 9 years. This is something which the CIC is not even mentioning in its report year after year. Yet, Parliament has the right to get Annual Reports on the implementation of the RTI Act every year under Section 25 of the RTI Act. This is a contradiction of sorts that the supervisory body itself has never submitted RTI stats to the CIC. The RTI stats for Parliament are not part of the stats given by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, or else they would have been specifically mentioned like the Supreme Court whose RTI stats are reported under the stats of the Union Home Ministry. Similarly, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which is the nodal Department for implementing the RTI Act also did not submit its RTI stats to the CIC for 2013-14.
Delhi High Court has also never submitted RTI stats to the CIC till date although the Supreme Court has done so every year faithfully. The Law Commission of India also did not submit its RTI stats in 2013-14.
The CIC report contains some errors. For example, in the list of public authorities that have not submitted their RTI stats, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Minority Affairs are mentioned.
Some of the other prominent public authorities that are named in the CIC’s Annual Report for not filing their RTI stats with the CIC for 2013-13 are:
  • Ministries & Departments: Ministry of Coal, Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Department of Defence Production, Department of AIDS Control, Department of Health Research, Department of School Education and Literacy, and Department of Justice.
  • Public sector undertakings: Air India, Coal India Ltd., Oil companies such as- HPCL, IOCL and Oil India, Fertiliser Corporation of India, National Highways Authority of India and Delhi Metro.
  • Autonomous Bodies: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC); National Disaster Management Authority, Northeastern Police Academy, NCERT, Staff Selection Commission, National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and National Jute Board.
  • Regulatory Bodies: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority; Food Safety and Standards Authority of India; Medical Council of India, Central Board of Secondary Education, Directorate General of Mines Safety, a large number of Directors General of Income Tax, Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Customs in places like Nagpur, Delhi, Vadodara, Patna, Jaipur, Lucknow,
  • Quasi-judicial authorities: Central Administrative Tribunal, a host of Debt Recovery Tribunals in places like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, a host of labour courts and industrial tribunals in Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh,
  • Educational institutions: Assam University, IIMs of Bengaluru, Ranchi and Kashipur, Puducherry University, Tripura University, University of Allahabad and GGS Indraprastha University.
  • Law enforcement authorities: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) .
  • Other public authorities: a host of museums and libraries under the Ministry of Culture, Forest Survey of India; Guru teg Bahadur Hospital and a host of departments in the Secretariats of the Union territories of Delhi, Chandigarh and Puducherry.
CIC puts the total number of RTI applications received by the public authorities reporting to it in 2013-14 at 9.62 lakh (962,000+). This is not the correct figure as it includes pending RTI applications from the previous year. The correct figure for receipts in 2013-14 is 8.34 lakh (834,000+). This shows a marginal decline in the rate of receipts when compared to the rate of increase between 2011-12 and 2012-13. RTI applications increased by 22% in 2012-13 as compared to the previous year. But the increase in 2013-14 is a mere 2.7%. So the question to ask is whether RTI fatigue is setting in or will the numbers go up considerably if all public authorities were to report their RTI stats.
The proportion of rejections for reasons other that Sections 8, 9, and 24 is increasing. Each year the CIC expresses worry about this trend but has done precious little to inquire into the reasons. Under the RTI Act a request can be rejected only for reasons under Sections 8, 9 and 24. Section 11 (third party) is not a ground for rejection. It is only a procedure as rejection must still be based on reasons given in Sections 8 and 9 or 24. For all of GoI, the rejection under “Others” has increased by 4.4% over the previous year. However there is a reduction in the number of instances where Section 8(1)(c) – parliamentary privilege, 8(1)(e) – fiduciary relationship, 8(1)(g)- endangering life, 8(1)(h)- impeding law enforcement or trial or arrest, 8(1)(i)- Cabinet exemption and 8(1)(j) – privacy have been invoked overall. The total rejection rate has also come down by 0.5% while the number of requests has grown by 2.2%.
The trend of rejections in the PMO, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Supreme, Court, Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) and particularly the Ministry of Personnel which includes the DoPT- nodal department for RTI is increasing year on year. The rejection rates for these public authorities below which is well above the Government of India (GoI) average of 7.20%:
  • Prime Minister’s Office – 20.50%
  • Rashtrapati Bhawan – 10.7%
  • Supreme Court – 23.80%
  • Comptroller and Auditor General – 7% (here the comparison is with the previous year’s rejection rate of 5.80%)
  • Ministry of Personnel, public grievances and pensions – 14.50%
  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs – 28.80%
  • Ministry of Power – 16.10%
  • Delhi Police – 9.2%
However the highest rejection rates overall (not counting the Section 24 organisations) are for:
  • Allahabad Bank- 34.69%
  • Andhra Bank- 41.6%
  • Bank of Maharashtra – 43.2%
  • Corporation Bank – 43.9%
  • Dena Bank – 35.1%
  • Bank of Baroda – 32.4%
  • Canara Bank – 44.9%
  • Oriental Bank of Commerce- 35%
  • State Bank of Hyderabad – 58% (whereas SBI’s rate is only 18.2%)
  • Vijaya Bank – 39.3%
The rejection rate for the Reserve Bank of India which is the daddy of all these Banks is only 3.7% — well below the average for GoI as a whole.
Rejection rate in the Finance Ministry has reduced this year although it receives the largest number of RTI applications. Ministry of External Affairs’ rejection rate is down by more than 40% even though the number of RTI applications has gone up. Similarly the rejection rates in Railways, Commerce, Chemicals and Fertilisers, Civil Aviation, Food and Environment Ministry have also fallen substantially. Amongst the constitutional authorities the Election Commission has the lowest rejection rate. There is a reduction in the rejection rates of the Army. But the Navy has seen a whopping increase in the rejection rate from 1% in 2012-13 to almost 7% last year. The Air Force has seen a marginal increase in the rejection rate.
Corporate Affairs Ministry has seen an almost 300% increase in the rejection rate last year. Power Ministry’s rejection rate has doubled. Labour Ministry’s rejection rate appears to be drastically down, but then they have shown a very poor reporting rate. So that will not count.
There was a decline in the number of RTI applications filed with Delhi Police in 2012-13 compared to the previous year. But the trend is increasing in 2013-14.
Rejection rate in Defence Ministry has increased but their pendency of RTI applications from previous year is also very high. Reasons are not known for such high pendency unless a very large number of RTI applications were filed in the last month of the previous reporting year.
HRD Ministry is interestingly reporting that a large number of RTIs were rejected under Section 8(1)(f)- information received in confidence from foreign governments. This phenomenon requires study to check whether the rejections are form the Ministry itself or from the IITs and other institutes under it.
Although Railways got 12.2% of the RTI applications which is probably the most submitted to a single entity, their rejection rate has fallen down below 1%. This is a good sign and the reasons for this decline must be studied.
From the narrative portion of the CIC report it appears that the amount of penalty imposed has gone up by 31% in 2013-14. While Rs 13.19 lakh was the total amount levied in 2012-13, it has risen up to Rs 19.25 lakh last year. While recovery was Rs 10.19 lakh last year it was Rs 7.61 lakh in 2012-13. This shows an increase of 25% in the recovery rate. It looks like civil society criticism about poor record of imposing penalties is yielding results slowly. Strangely, there is no reference to the amount of compensation awarded in the last two reports of the CIC.

*Programme Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Delhi

Comments

TRENDING

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Birth of New Communist Party ushers in new epoch in Canada's Left history

By Harsh Thakor  On January 31, 2024, history was made with the formation of the (New) Communist Party of Canada (the (N)CPC), the successful completion of its Founding Congress, and the public release of its Political Program. A most sporadic development in turning course of Communist movement locally, and worldwide. It also pits a challenge to dogmatism or mechanical approach and stagnation. taps the revolutionary creativity of the masses and is major re-orientation towards shaping revolutionary class struggles and  the massline.

Ethiopian ruling classes, political masters in West have their hands soaked in blood

By Harsh Thakor  Over two hundred were killed in recent weeks in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara region. After peace-talks between the Oromo Liberation Army and the Ethiopian government did not materialise tensions are escalating in the Oromia region. Earlier, on November 22, least 25 civilians were massacred in a government aerial drone strike, in Chawaka districts of the Buno Bedelle zone. This incident took place only two days after a fierce battle arose between the OLA and governmental troops in the Sulula Fincha district of the Horro Guduru Wollega zone.

Landslide early warning system: Odisha Govt, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham collaborate

By Divya Saini  In a strategic move to mitigate the impact of landslides during storms, the Odisha government in collaboration with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is gearing up to establish a user-friendly Landslide Early Warning System (EWS) in Gajapati district. This initiative aims to provide advanced information, especially regarding landslides caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope.

Violent incidents in Haldwani: CPDRS on dubious role of Uttarakhand government

By DN Rath  Center for Democratic Rights and Secularism (CPDRS) unequivocally condemns the dubious role of Uttarakhand Government and its administration in the incidents that happened in Haldwani of Nanital district of the state.

A third view of Islamic paradox: Can Muslim unity defeat Zionist evil regime’s injustice?

By Chandra Vikash*  Could India, as a mirror to the ethno-federal One State solution, play a key role in resolving the Palestinian genocide crisis, that has emerged in the global consciousness as a focal point for injustice of centuries-old settler-colonialism project that continues to spread its hydra-headed tentacles through globalisation of this Old World Order?