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Central Information Commission (CIC)

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Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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CIC of India - Introduction

The CIC of India represents the Central Information Commission of India which is a crucial authority in India that is required for the smooth functioning of democracy and appropriate governance. The Central Information Commission of India is the authorized governmental body that is made to act upon complaints or grievances received from individuals who have not been able to submit a petition of information to a Central or State Public Information Officer because of either the officer not having been elected, or the respective officer disapproved of encouraging the application under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).


About CIC

  • CIC refers to the Central Information Commission.

  • It was established by the Union Government under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and thus it is not a constitutional body but a statutory body.

  • If we talk about its composition, it is said to consist of Chief Information Commissioner and not more than 10 Information Commissioners.

  • The CIC and ICs are said to be appointed by the the President of the country after getting a recommendation from a committee which consists of:

    • Prime Minister (Chairperson)

    • Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha 

    • Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.

  • All Central Public Authorities are said to be under its jurisdiction.


Role of CIC of India

A CIC of India is accountable to perform duties including:-

  • Order enquiry into any complaint only on rational grounds (suo-moto power).

  • Secure adherence of its decisions from any public entitled authority.

  • Obtain and inquire into a matter from any entity:

    • Who has not received any response with respect to his/her request for information within a stipulated time frame.

    • Who deems that the fees so charged is unreasonable.

    • Who neglected or refused the information requested.

    • Who considers the information provided him/her is incomplete, incorrect or misleading, and any other matter in reference to securing the information.

    • Who has been unable to submit a request for information because of the non-appointment of an officer.


  • During inquiries, the information commissioner of India hold the powers of a civil court, such as the powers to:

    • Requisition and impose the attendance of individuals, and urge them to provide written or oral evidence on pledge and yield documents or things.

    • Need the inspection and exploration of documents.

    • Obtain evidence of information on affidavit.

    • Summon public copies or records from any court or office.

    • Issue summons for the assessment of documents or address any other matter that may be suggested.


  • The CIC of India also submits an annual report to the Government of India on the execution of the provisions of the Act. This report is then presented before both the Houses of Parliament.

  • The commission consists of the power to assess any record under the control of the public authority.

  • All records are to be provided to the Commission during the examination and nothing shall be held back. 


Salaries of CIC and IC’s

The RTI Act, 2005 spelled out the salaries, tenure, and terms of service of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) both at the central and state levels, in the parent law. However, the RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 eliminated these provisions and mentioned that the central government will notify the term and quantum of salary of both CIC and Ics via rules.


It is given that the CIC and an IC  (of Centre as well as States) shall hold office for such term as recommended by the Central Government or upto the age of 65 years ( whichever is earlier. ) Prior to this amendment, the term for the Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner was fixed for 5 years.


In addition, it also eradicated the provisions with respect to deductions in the salary of the CIC, an IC, the State Chief Information Commissioner, and a State Information Commissioner because of pension or any other retirement benefits obtained by them for their previous government service.


It mentioned that the salary, allowances, grants, and other service conditions of the CIC, as well as an IC(of both the Centre and States), shall be such as recommended by the Central Government.


Current Central Information Commissioner

At present, Mr. Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha is serving as the Central Information Commissioner who is said to have become 11th CIC of the country. He held the office for CIC in November 2020. The jurisdiction of the information commissioner of India extends over all Central Public Authorities.


Conclusion

Democracy is the essence of the governance of the people, for the people, and by the people of the nation. For the purpose of attaining the third paradigm, the state is required to start acknowledging the significance of an informed public and the role that it plays in the country’s growth and development as a nation. Under such a state of affairs, underlying difficulties in reference to the RTI Act must be resolved, so that it can cater to the information needs of society.

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FAQs on Central Information Commission (CIC)

1. What are the power and functions of the chief information commissioner of India (CIC)?

The following are the central information commission functions and powers:

  • To obtain and inquire into a complaint from any individual with respect to the information requested under the RTI Act, 2005.

  • It can order an inquiry into any matter given that there are rational grounds (suo-moto power).

  • At the time of inquiring, the Commission held the powers of a civil court in regard to summoning, mandating documents, etc.

2. What is the composition of the CIC of India?

The information commissioner of India is headed by the Chief Information Commissioner and does NOT take into panel any more than 10 Information Commissioners for the assistance of CIC. The chief information commissioner of India holds this authoritative office position for five years. Currently, (2019), the Commission consists of six Information Commissioners besides the Chief Information Commissioner.

3. How is the chief information commissioner of India appointed?

Appointment of the commissioner in CIC is done by the President on the recommendation of a committee composed of:

  • the Prime Minister who acts as a Chairperson

  • a Union Cabinet Minister proposed by the Prime Minister

  • and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha

4. What is the tenure of office of chief information commissioner of India?

The CIC of India and an Information Commissioner shall hold office for such term as recommended by the Central Government or unless they reach the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier and on the other hand the CIC and ICs are not eligible for reappointment.