1. How is the State Information Commission constituted?
- The RTI Act of 2005 provide that the State Information Commission will be constituted by the State Government through a Gazette notification. As given under a constitutional provision the state Information Commission is an autonomous body and not under any Government Department. The Commission will have one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC) to be appointed by the Governor.
- Oath of office will be administered by the Governor according to the form set out in the First Schedule.
- The Headquarters of the State Information Commission shall be at such place as the State Government may specify. Other offices may be established in other parts of the State with the approval of the State Government.
- The Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected to any other authority. The General Superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the Mizoram Information Commission vests in the Chief Information Commissioner who is assisted by the State Information Commissioners and exercise all such powers and does all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Mizoram Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under the RTI Act.
- The Act enjoins upon the state government to provide the Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners with such officers and employees as may be necessary for the efficient performance of their functions under this Act, and the salaries and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees appointed for the purpose of this Act shall be such as may be prescribed.
2. What is the eligibility criterion and what is the process of appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner/ State Information Commissioners?
The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of (i) the Chief Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee; (ii) the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly; and (iii) a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister – Sec 15 (3) The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of (a) the State Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Central Election Commissioner of India and Judge of Supreme Court of India (b) the State Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Secretary to the State Government – Sec 16 (5).
3. What are the powers and functions of Information Commission?
- The State Information Commission has a duty to receive complaints from any person –
- Who has not been able to submit an information request because a PIO has not been appointed
- Who has been refused information that was requested.
- Who has received no response to his/her information request within the specified time limits;
- Who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable;
- Who thinks information given is incomplete or false or misleading; and
- Any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law.
- Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds.
- SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as -
- Summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
- Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
- Receiving evidence on affidavit;
- Requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office
- Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents
- Any other matter which may be prescribed
- All records covered by this law (including those covered by exemptions) must be given to SCIC during inquiry for examination.
- Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the Public Authority includes –
- Providing access to information in a particular form;
- Directing the public authority to appoint a PIO/APIO where non exists;
- Publishing information or categories of information;
- Making necessary changes to the practices relating to management, maintenance and destruction of records;
- Enhancing training provision for officials on RTI
- Seeking an annual report from the public authority on compliance with this law;
- Require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment suffered by the applicant;
- Impose penalties under this law; or
- Reject the application. (S. 18 and S. 19)
4. What is the reporting procedure?
The State Information Commission will submit a report to the State Government after every financial year.
- Each Ministry has a duty to compile reports from its Public Authorities and send them to the State Information Commission.
- Each report will contain details of number of requests received by each Public Authority, number of rejections and appeals, particulars of any disciplinary action taken, amount of fees and charges collected etc.
The State Government will table the report of the State Information Commission before the Vidhan Sabha (and the Vidhan Parishad wherever applicable). (S. 25).