SC asks Centre, states to take steps to fill vacancies in CIC, SICs

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre and the state governments to take steps to fill the vacancies in the Central Information Commission and state information commissions (SICs), observing otherwise the 2005 law on right to information will become a “dead letter”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also asked the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to collect information from all states on several aspects including the sanctioned strength of SICs, vacancies and the total number of pending cases there.

“The Right to Information Act of 2005 will become a dead letter,” the CJI said after taking note of the submission that SICs in states like Jharkhand, Tripura and Telangana have become defunct.

It has granted states and the Centre three weeks to furnish the information, and posted the plea filed by RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj for hearing after that.

Bhardwaj alleged the apex court’s 2019 judgement on issues including timely filling up of vacancies in the CIC and SICs have not been followed by the Centre and states.

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