Central Information Commission

Central Information Commission

  • It was established as a legislative body in October 2005 in accordance with Section 12 of the RTI Act.
  • It is a strong independent organisation that conducts investigations into complaints and renders decisions on appeals 

  • It hears grievances and appeals concerning the offices of the Central Government and Union Territories, financial institutions, government agencies, and other entities.

  • All Central Public Authorities are subject to the Commission's control.

  • The tenure, terms of service, and compensation of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) at the central and state levels were outlined in the parent statute, the RTI Act of 2005.

  • These clauses were deleted by the RTI (Amendment) Act of 2019, which stated that the central government would specify the time and amount of remuneration through regulations.


  • Case pendency: more than 2.2 lakh right-to-information cases are pending at the central and the state level.  (center for equity studies)
  • Penalties: penalties were imposed in only 2.2% of cases that were disposed off.

  • Case rejection: the centre has a rejection rate of 4.3% of all RTI inquiries.

RTI Act 2005 vs. RTI Rules 2019


 RTI Act 2005

 RTI Act 2019


 The national and state level CICs and ICs will serve a   five-year term in office.

 The national and state CICs and ICs will serve   a three-year term in office.


  • At the central level, the salaries of the CIC and the ICs will be equal to those of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners (Rs 2,50,000 per month)
  • Corresponding to this, the salaries of the CIC and ICs (at the state level) will be similar to the monthly salaries of the Election Commissioners (Rs. 2,50,000) and Chief Secretary to the State Government (Rs. 2,25,000) respectively. 
  • The monthly salaries for the CIC and the ICs (at the central level) are 2,50,000 and 2,25,000 rupees, respectively.
  • At the state level, CICs and ICs are paid Rs. 2,25,000 per month.

Central Information Commission - Composition

  • There is an Chief Information Commissioner and a maximum of ten Information Commissioners who make up the Commission.
  • Aside from the Chief Information Commissioner, the Commission now has six information commissioners.
  • The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Member that the Prime Minister selects advise the President on the appointment of the commissioners.
  • Eligibility: They should be well-known individuals with in-depth knowledge and experience in the administration of justice, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, and mass media.
    • They shouldn't hold office as a member of Parliament or a member of any state or the Union Territory.
    • They shouldn't work in any other lucrative positions, belong to a political party, own a business, or engage in any profession.
  • Tenure: The Chief Information Commissioner and each Information Commissioner shall serve for the Central Government's statutory terms or until they reach the age of 65, whichever comes first.
  • Reappointment: They are not qualified for re-appointment.

Central Information Commission - Powers and Functions

  • To accept and look into any complaints regarding information requests made in accordance with the RTI Act of 2005.
  • It has the authority to order an investigation into any issue if there are sufficient grounds (suo-moto power).
  • The Commission has the same summoning and document-requirement authority as a civil court when conducting its investigation.
  • accept and investigate complaints from any person: 
    • who has not gotten a response to their information request within the allotted time
    • Anyone considers the information provided to him/her to be inaccurate, deceptive, or incomplete, as well as any other issue linked to obtaining the information
    • Who has been unable from submitting a request for information because an officer has not been appointed
    • Who believes the costs being levied are excessive
    • Whose request for information was denied.
  • The Commission has the authority to order public agencies to obey its decisions. This comprises.
    • giving access to data in a particular format.
    • requesting a public organisation to appoint a public information officer in the event that none already exists.
    • Publications include information or categories of information.
    • Implementing necessary changes to the policies for record management, maintenance, and destruction.
    • improving the right to information training offered to officials.
    • requesting an annual report on the Act's compliance from the public authority.
  • Any record kept by a public authority may be examined by the commission. All such records shall be made available to the Commission throughout the examination, and nothing shall be concealed.
  • Annual report: the CIC submits an annual report on the Act's implementation to the Government of India. The report is then presented to both Houses of Parliament.

Current provisions to ensure independence

    • Appointment: appointed by the president on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the prime minister as chairperson, the leader of opposition in Lok sabha, and a union cabinet minister nominated by the prime minister.
    • Removal: removal is done by the president on the grounds of bankruptcy, unsound mind, infirmity of body or mind, sentenced to imprisonment for a crime, or engaging in paid employment. He can also be removed for proved misbehavior or incapacity if the SC inquiry finds him guilty. They can resign by writing to the president.
  • Reappointment: no provision for reappointment, hence this ensures independence.

Issues with CIC

  • As the selection criteria, among other things, have not been documented, there are questions about CIC's transparency.
  • Massive Backlogs & Pendency since it takes 388 days (more than a year) for the commission to resolve an appeal or complaint once it is filed.
  • Government employees are seldom penalised for breaching the law, claims the research.
  • There are still job vacancies in the CIC despite repeated orders from the court.
  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions currently have vacancies, and the Supreme Court recently ordered the Union of India and all States to report on these developments (SICs).

Way forward

  • Proper appointments: there may not be vacancies at the state and centre level and thus appointments must be done properly.
  • Proactive disclosure: public bodies must be proactive in information disclosure and cooperate when summoned for information.
  • Funds and functionaries: the amendment act should not put any financial disadvantage to the body and its officers.
  • Case redressal: the body must be more focused in effective case redressal rather than case disposal.
  • Prioritization of cases: dealing with information related to life and liberty.
  • Digitization: should be done on a priority basis.

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