RTI – CIC, RTI Backlog, etc.

CIC upholds decision of Rashtrapati Bhavan on RTI query


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Central Information Commission (CIC), Powers and Functions

Why in the News? 

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) upheld Rashtrapati Bhavan’s response to an RTI query regarding the number of times former President Kovind returned decisions by the Prime Minister/Union Council of Ministers for reconsideration.
    • The President’s Secretariat stated that no information was available on record regarding such returns.

Back2Basics: Right to Information (RTI)

  • The RTI Act of 2005 grants Indian citizens the right to access government-held information, with exceptions.
  • Its goal is to enhance transparency and accountability in public authorities.
  • This Act replaced the earlier Freedom of Information Act of 2002.
  • RTI aligns with Freedom of Speech and Expression (Article 19) in India’s Constitution.

About Central Information Commission (CIC)

Establishment Set up under the Section 12 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • Oversees implementation of RTI Act in Central Government and Union Territories.
  • Resolves complaints and decides appeals related to the Act.
Headquarters New Delhi
  • Chief Information Commissioner (CIC)
  • Up to 10 Information Commissioners (IC), (appointed by President on recommendation of PM-led Committee consisting Leader of Opposition and Cabinet Ministers.)
Qualifications CIC and IC must be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in: Law, Science and Technology, Social Service, Management, Journalism, Mass Media, Administration, and Governance.

NON-ELIGIBLITY: Members of Parliament or Legislature of any State or Union Territory, hold any office of profit, be connected with any political party, or carry on any business or profession.

  • CIC and IC hold office for such term as prescribed by Central Government or until they attain age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • NO Reappointment.
  • IC can be appointed as Chief Information Commissioner, but total tenure including term as IC should not exceed 5 years.
  • President can remove CIC or IC on grounds like insolvency, conviction for moral turpitude, engaging in another office of profit, etc.
  • Removal for misbehaviour requires Supreme Court enquiry and recommendation.
Salary & Conditions Salary, allowances, and service conditions determined by Central Government, cannot be varied to their disadvantage during service (After RTI Amendment Act,2019)
How RTI amendment, 2019 has changed CIC?
  • Before the 2019 amendment to the RTI Act, ICs at the CIC held a 5-year fixed term and were considered equal in status to the Chief Election Commissioner and Supreme Court judges.
  • The 2019 amendments granted the Centre the power to alter these terms at its discretion.
  • Receives and inquires into complaints related to RTI Act violations, including non-appointment of Public Information Officer, refusal or delay in information, unreasonable fees, incomplete or false information.
  • Submits annual report on Act’s implementation to Central Government, presented to Parliament.
  • Can suo-moto order inquiries, summon persons, enforce oaths, access and inspect documents, receive evidence on affidavit, requisition public records, summon witnesses, and enforce compliance of decisions.
  • Can direct public authorities on information access, officer appointments, record management, training, and impose penalties or compensation for non-compliance.



[2018] The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. (150 words)

[2019] There is a view that the Officials Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of RTI Act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss.

[2020] “Recent amendments to the Right to Information Act will have a profound impact on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission”. Discuss.

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