Bombay High Court Advocates Time Limits for RTI Appeals Disposal

Dec 14, 2023 #APPEAL #Bombay HC #RTI #sisposal #time limit

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Published on: December 14, 2023 at 00:22 IST

The Bombay High Court has called upon the Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) to set a reasonable time limit for the expeditious resolution of second appeals and complaints filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

Justices Devendra Upadhyaya and Arif Doctor, in a division bench, directed the SIC to establish norms for more efficient functioning once its vacancies are filled by the first week of February 2024.

The court emphasized the need to address prolonged durations in resolving second appeals, citing instances of frustration among information seekers due to delays.

The PIL filed by former Chief Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and a group of RTI activists underscored the necessity for a structured and time-bound resolution mechanism to address grievances related to the RTI Act.

Referring to the Calcutta High Court’s suggestion of a 45-day time limit for disposing of second appeals, similar to that for first appeals, the petitioner highlighted the previous stances of the Madras HC, Bombay HC, and J&K HC seeking a roadmap for second appeal disposal.

While acknowledging that statutory time limits exist for first appeals, Chief Justice Upadhyaya stressed the importance of a reasonable time frame for second appeals.

The court was informed that all vacancies in the SIC, including those of the Chief Commissioner and other Commissioners, would be filled by the first week of February 2024.

Recognizing the essential nature of the Commission’s efficient functioning, the court directed the SIC to take appropriate steps in formulating a reasonable time limit for the early disposal of second appeals and complaints.

The counsel for the SIC was instructed to provide an update on compliance by the next hearing scheduled for March 6, 2024.

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