COVID-19: CIC for use of best technological tools to hike efficiency

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UT of J & K advised to register itself with the RTI portal of DoPT so as to facilitate the general public to file online RTI applications and first appeal

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC), along with Central Information Commissioners, held an important interaction with all the State Chief Information Commissioners and State Information Commissioners through Video Conferencing on Friday 26 June 2020 to exchange ideas, methodology and approach to streamline the functioning of the Commission through the use of best technological tools especially during COVID 19 like situation.

This interaction was in continuation of the earlier meeting held on 29 April, 2020 with all Chief State Information Commissioners by Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka.

Friday’s meeting was chaired by Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka. Also present were the Central Information Commissioners.

All the 28 State Information Commissions were invited to participate in the deliberations. 
Julka shared his experience relating to disposal of cases. The participants were informed that maximum efforts had been made with the help of technology to conduct the hearings under the prevailing circumstances arising due to the lockdown to contain COVID-19. Hearings were conducted through audio / video conference and parties were advised to refrain from physical presence to maintain social distance to comply with the Government guidelines.

It was underscored that out of the box thinking and certain creative and innovative measures had to be initiated in these troubled times so that the information seeker is provided all possible relief under the Right to Information Act which is a common man’s Act. It was also brought out that consequent to the reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir Act. 2019 and transfer of pending complaint and second appeal cases under RTI Act to the Central Information Commission in the Union capital, the Commission had initiated the process to get the cases transferred. The Commission had commenced hearing of cases 15 May, 2020 onward. The UT of J & K was advised to register itself with the RTI portal of DoPT so as to facilitate the general public to file online RTI applications and first appeal. Efforts are also being being made to facilitate training and familiarization exercise of the CPIOs and First Appellate Authorities of J & K and Ladakh Administration through webinars etc. Besides, the participants were also briefed about the preventive measures undertaken in the office premises in respect of maintenance of hygiene & sanitation

Central Information Commissioners, CIC, New Delhi also shared their experiences inrespect of hearing of the cases through audio / video conference. All State Information Commission actively participated in the discussion. It was  resolved unanimously that such periodic interactions would further strengthen the functioning of the Commissions

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