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Transparency Body Told To Maintain Daily Hearing Record of RTI Applicants

New Delhi:  The transparency watchdog Central Information Commission or CIC has been asked by the Delhi High Court to keep a record of daily proceedings and upload it within three days of hearing a case.

The CIC told the court there was no need to keep daily records as cases were decided in a single hearing. “This submission is… unacceptable. The functioning of the CIC must be transparent, and it is necessary that a record of daily proceedings be maintained,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said in a recent order.

He said even if the CIC wraps up a hearing in one day, the record for that day should mention it.

Right to Information applicant RK Jain, had challenged an order of Information Commissioner Sushma Singh, alleging that his arguments had been accepted during hearing but in the order that came after over nine months, the content was completely opposite of what he said.

He said the information commissioner did not keep any record of the proceedings. Mr Jain also cited the case of another RTI applicant Subhash Agrawal, in which the final order was different from observations made during hearing.

Justice Bakhru said that in March 2016, the CIC had shown willingness to maintain daily order sheets and sought time from the high court to set up a procedure.

“Thus, sufficient time has been provided to the CIC to put in place a procedure for recording of order sheets; however, even today, the learned counsel (of CIC) is not in a position to inform this court, the procedure for ensuring recording of order sheets,” the court said.

“…the CIC is directed to maintain the order sheets for each hearing. The said order sheet would also be uploaded as expeditiously as possible and in any case not later than three days from the date of hearing,” the high court said.