Data revealed in a book authored by a Central Information Commissioner reveals that number of RTI applications can be reduced to roughly half if there is a complete compliance of section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act regarding sue-motto disclosure of certain information on website. But most public-authorities have been unable for a full compliance of this important section which has been further complicated through successive DoPT circulars further widening its scope.
According to inputs from officers of various public-authorities, section 4(1)(b) is not fully complied because of complexity and too much parameters of information required to be put on websites. Since RTI is an additional task for most public-authorities, these officers though desiring to comply with RTI provisions, yet have to defer working for compliance to next day which practically never comes. Another Central Information Commissioner has come with a practical idea to reduce complexity of section 4(1)(b) by reducing information-points required to be disclosed sue-motto on website. DoPT should make a thorough study of section 4(1)(b) and all other circulars in this regard, and pin-point some important parameters to be disclosed in a time-bound manner. Once this process is complete, then gradual addition of other parameters of information can be added. Healthy competition amongst public-authorities and their heads can be developed for best compliance of section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)