There is a provision of third-party audit of websites of public-authorities. But in practice, no such audit is being done in respect of most public-authorities. Most public-authorities are not clear about institutions/persons authorised for third-party audit of public-authorities. There are no audit-fees prescribed by Central Information Commission. Firstly, Central Information Commission should prominently place details about possible third-party auditors, and fees prescribed for any such third-party audit. Known experts in the field of RTI including retired Commissioners can be included in a panel of auditors which can be authorised to do third-party audit on a prescribed fee, rather than some institutions only. Audit-fees should be reasonable so that it may not disturb budgets of public-authorities. For example, it may not be practically possible at least economically to get third-party audit done for more than 170 departments/public-authorities under Government of Delhi at an exorbitant fee of Rs 3-4 lakhs for each of the department etc. Fees should be reasonably fixed keeping in view average man-hours spent by the auditor for a website.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)