POST TIME: 11 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Info Commission trying to get into business
“The Commission in its annual report 2016 mentioned that some 682 complaints were filed with it by aggrieved information seekers from 2009-2016”

Info Commission trying to get into business

Though the Information Commission was constituted back in 2009, people had hardly been able to reap benefits from the Right to Information Act (RTI) for various reasons, but now the Commission is trying to get into business, reports UNB. The government established the commission to enforce the Right to Information Act it passed in the same year and ease the process of ensuring transparency in the works of those who are in power.

The Commission in its annual report 2016 mentioned that some 682 complaints were filed with it by aggrieved information seekers from 2009-2016. Of these complaints, 1,028 were followed up  by hearings, the annual report said. The Commission got bolstered once Prof Dr Golam Rahman of Dhaka University's Mass Communication and Journalism department was made the Chief Information Commissioner.

In 2016 when Dr Golam Rahman was appointed, 364 out of 539 complaints that were filed were followed up with hearing sessions.

According to the Commission's statistics, 257 of those complaints were filed by general citizens, 21 by jobholders, 75 by journalists and one each by a lawyer, freedom fighter and a teacher.

Of the complaints, 466 were against various government offices and 73 against private offices.

According to the annual report, 24,734 officers were trained by the commission from 2010-2016, while 5,920 in 2016 alone, which included journalists and other non-government officials. It is mandatory for all state-owned, national, autonomous and statutory government organisations, as well as organisations formed by foreign funding or private investment to get registered with the Information Commission.

All these institutions are bound to provide authentic information when requested.

Under section 9 of the RTI Act, the designated officer shall, on receipt of a request, under sub-section (1) of section 8, provide the information to the applicant within 20 working days from the date of receiving the request.

Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), if more than one unit or authority is involved with the information sought for, such information may be provided within 30 working days.

If a request is relating to the life and death, arrest and release from jail of any person, the officer-in-charge shall provide preliminary information within 24 hours.

Upon inspection of all the complaints lodged by applicants, it has mostly been observed that most of the requests seek individual or institutional interests, which are sensitive to disclosure. But applicants have the right to seek information which affects public interest.