GUWAHATI, May 10: A conference of information commissioners of the north-eastern region was held in Guwahati on Wednesday under the auspices of Assam Information Commission and National Federation of Information Commissions in India (NFICI).
The Conference was inaugurated by YK Sinha, IFS (Retd), chief information commissioner, Central Information Commission, New Delhi. Addressing the conference held in the conference hall of Assam Information Commission, CIC Sinha stressed on fast disposal of RTI petitions at the application level and making dissemination at the first interface level easier and faster.
“The first appellate authorities will also have a very important role. If the SPIOs and CPIOs can dispose of the petitions at the application level, and if the first appellate authorities also ensure that the information sought are furnished as requested, then citizens will not have to approach the Information Commission,” the CIC Sinha said.
“The Act provides for uploading information in the departmental websites. If all public authorities do this sincerely, then citizens will not be required to seek information by using the RTI Act at all,” he said.
YK Sinha also stressed on access to information held by private organisations by using provisions of the RTI Act.
“Private organisations are registered with different government departments and agencies, and information can be accessed through those agencies,” he further added.
Sinha also called upon public authorities to remain alert against certain mischievous elements who try to misuse provisions of the RTI Act.
“There are certain mischievous elements which try to use the RTI Act to harass and blackmail public authorities. Some people also submit frivolous applications. Such cases should be handled with care. The Act cannot be allowed to be misused for ulterior motive,” the Central CIC said.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Assam chief information commissioner Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that information is very important for empowering the common people.
“Most people use the RTI Act for genuine problems and grievances. Hence, it has been the duty of the Information Commission to ensure that public authorities furnish information as promptly as possible when an RTI application is submitted.”
Information commissioners from different north-eastern states who took part in the conference also raised issues related to certain practical problems arising in the process of disposing appeals and complaints.
Later in the day, Sinha also took part in an interactive session with public information officers of various central government organisations located in Guwahati.