“…Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Government and their instrumentality accountable to the governed”
(Preamble, RTI Act 2005)
The Right to Information Act 2005 grants every citizen the right to seek information subject to provisions of this Act from every public Authority about the various tasks and activities performed by them. The Preamble of the Act presupposes that for a democracy to be functional effective and efficacious an informed citizenry and transparency of information held by the government are sine qua non, as it keeps the government and its instrumentalities accountable to the citizen and helps contain corruption. The Act essentially focuses on maximum disclosure and minimum exceptions. Section 25 (2) of the RTI Act stipulates that “Each Ministry or Department shall, in relation to the Public Authorities within their jurisdiction, collect and provide such information to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, as is required to prepare the report under this section and comply with the requirements concerning the furnishing of that information and keeping of records for the purposes of this section”. But there have been many commissions that haven’t been updating their records and reports on the number of complaints.
- RTI Statistics State Wise as per the annual report of the State Information Commission Annual Report
- 1. Central Information Commission (CIC): The Central Information Commission performs the task of compiling the data on the total number of RTI Applications received. The CIC compiles the information that it receives from the various state information commissions, public authorities etc. The last report that the CIC compiled was in the year 2011- 12. The graphs below are taken from this report.
In the year 2011-12, the total number of new RTI applications received were 6,55,572. The number of pending cases that have been brought forward to the next year were 4,30,425. Therefore, the total number of cases add up to 10,85,997. This number cannot be considered to be the total number of applications as there are various organisations and ministries that have not submitted their annual returns on the number of RTI requests they received. Around 53,419 requests for information were rejected by the various authorities for different reasons. The percentage of rejection also increased from 5.2% in the year 2010-11 to 8.1% in the year 2011-12. As seen in the above graph, the total number of RTI applications has been increasing. In the year 2011-12, as against 33922 appeals and complaints registered in CIC for disposal, 23112 appeals/complaints were disposed. The report also shows the names of the companies/ organisations that had received the most number of requests. The top 5 in the year 2011-12 are as follows:
I. Department of Posts
II. Employees Provident Fund Organization
III. Delhi Police
IV. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
V. State Bank of India
- West Bengal: The last updated Annual Report on the website of the West Bengal Information Commission was prepared in the year 2008-09. According to that report, the statistics relating to RTI are as follows:
The above figure shows the top ten public authorities in West Bengal in terms of the number of requests. In the year 2008-09, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation or KMC received the maximum number of requests under the RTI Act, 2005 and the West Bengal Rules, 2006.
According to the report of the commission, the pendency in the rate of the complaints has also significantly reduced. In the year 2007, the number of pending complaints was 446 and in the year 2008, it fell to 295. In the year 2009, this number reduced further as the number of pending complaints fell to 103. The Commission also states that the number of pending appeals has also reduced. The total number of registered applications in the period 2008-09 was around 7,216.
- Orissa: The last report published by the Orissa State Information Commission was filed for the year 2010-11. A total number of 35,649 RTI applications were filed during this period.
The above graph shows the total number of RTI applications filed in the state of Orissa. The total number of applications in the period 2009-10 were greater than it was in the period 2010-11. Out of these 35,649 applications, 34.503 were disposed of, which amounts to 96.78% of the total applications.
Orissa during 2010-11 had around 10,306 pending applications and this number has been on the rise ever since the RTI Act began being implemented
4. Bihar: The last report published by the Bihar State Information Commission was for the period 2011-12. The Bihar Information Commission also makes a list of applications received by every University in the state. According to that list, the most number of applications were received by the Magadh University at Bodhgaya with 338 and the least number of applications were at Chanakya National Law University, Patna with 0. In total, the Government (Aided or run) Universities received around 1340 RTI applications during the period 2011-12. The total number of requests received during this period were 60,553.
5. Chhattisgarh: The Chhattisgarh State Information Commission last published its report in the year 2011 for the period 2010-11. During that period, it received around 10,400 applications. In the state of Chhattisgarh, 2351 women i.e. 4.81% of the total RTI applications sought information under the RTI Act, 2005. No other Information Commission has published data about the gender- wise breakup of the number of applications. In Chhattisgarh, 2.49 % of the RTI Applicants belonged to the BPL Category.
6. Jharkhand: The Jharkhand State Information Commission had a consolidated report for the period 2007-2008 to 2010-2011. In the state of Jharkhand, the Chief Justice of the High Court made rules for carrying out the provisions of the RTI Act which is known as the Jharkhand High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2007. The chart below shows the total number of applications and the disposal and pendency rates for the complaints and also the appeals.
7. Uttar Pradesh: The Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission has not released any such report that is mandated under section 25 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
8. Andhra Pradesh: The Andhra Pradesh Information Commission started functioning on November, 2005. Since its inception, the Commission has disposed of 62760 cases in total. The Commission has not released any reports but has made available some statistics on its website. From January 2011 to October 2012, it received a total of 28,672 RTI applications and it successfully disposed of 18,524 of these applications. The number of cases pending since November, 2005 are 16552.
9. Tamil Nadu: The Tamil Nadu State Information Commission has never published any Annual Report since its inception.
10. Kerala: The Kerala Information Commission regularly published reports till the period 2010-11. But the Commission has never revealed the number of applications received by it in any of its reports.
11. Karnataka: The Karnataka Information Commission’s last report was published for the period 2011-12. The total number of appeals that were received during this period were 8814 and out of this, 164 applications were sent in by the people below poverty line (BPL). The Commission disposed of 7768 of the total complaints. Karnataka is one of the few states that shows separate statistics of the BPL applications.
12. Goa: The Goa Government has enacted some rules for the appeal which are called the Goa State Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2006. The Commission has failed to fulfil the requirements mandated by the section 25 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by not publishing any report since its inception.
13. Maharashtra : The Maharashtra State Information Commission is the only state commission to publish a report for the peiod 2012- 13. The report is published in the regional language of Marathi.
14. Gujarat: The Gujarat Information Commission has again failed to publish any report as mandated by Section 25 of the Right to Information Act, 2005
15. Rajasthan: The last report of the Rajasthan State Information Commission came in the year 2011-2012.
16. Madhya Pradesh: The Madhya Pradesh State Information Commission has again not published any Annual report as required by Section 25 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
17. Haryana: The Haryana State Information Commission has also not published any report since its inception.
18. Punjab: The Punjab State Information Commission recorded 59,168 RTI applications that were filed during the period 2009-10. The Commission has not released any report after that.
19. Himachal Pradesh: The Himachal Pradesh State Information Commission in its report for the period 2011-12 states that the total number of applications filed with the various public authorities under the RTI Act, 2005 were 72191. With regards to the appeal, the following chart shows the number of appeals per district.
21. Sikkim: The Sikkim Information Commission also does not have any Annual report.
22. Assam: The Information Commission of Assam last published its report in the year 2009. In the report, it produces statistics of different categories.
23. Meghalaya: The State Information Commission published its last report in the year 2012. The total number of complaints in the state was 43 and out of this, 39 complaints were disposed of.
24. Mizoram: Mizoram last published its report for the period 2011-12. According to that report, the total number of requests filed were 1274.
25. Manipur: The Manipur Information Commission has also not published any report since its inception.
26. Tripura: The Tripura Information Commission has also not been publishing any report since its inception.
The Nagaland State Information Commission in its report published for the period 2011-12 has put up this chart showing the number of applications filed in the state since 2006-07. The number of RTI Applications filed are clearly on the rise every year. The chart below shows the number of applications filed district wise. The District of Mokokchung witnessed the most number of RTI applications with 340.
28. Arunachal Pradesh: The Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission has last published its report for the period 2006-07. Since the inception of the act in October 2005 to October 2007, the total number of requests for information received was 555.
In the year 2012, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) published a study on the topic ‘The Use of Information Laws in India: A Rapid Study’. This study was based upon the reports published by the Central and the various State Information Commissions in the year 2011- 2012. The study brought about a number of statistics on the use of the Right to Information Act, 2005 and also submitted its various recommendations to the Government. The main findings of the study are as follows:
- During the year 2011‐12, there were a total of 20.39 lakh (2.03 million) RTI applications that were submitted to the public authorities under the Central Government and in the 10 states which were included in the study which included the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The Annual Report of the CIC does not contain any data about the number of RTI Applications received and disposed of in the Parliament. There is also no data about the receipt and disposal of RTI applications in the State Legislatures.
- There is no information about the receipt and disposal of RTI Applications in the Supreme Court and the High Court of Delhi in the Annual Report in the CIC. The State Information Commissions of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir have published RTI Application statistics for High Courts and Courts in their states.
- In the state of Chhattisgarh, 2351 women i.e. 4.81% of the total RTI applications sought information under the RTI Act, 2005. No other Information Commission has published data about the gender- wise breakup of the number of applications. In Chhattisgarh, 2.49 % of the RTI Applicants belonged to the BPL Category.
- In Chhattisgarh, 2.49% of the RTI applicants belonged to Below the Poverty Line (BPL) category. No other Information Commission has captured this data category in its Annual Report. However how many of these BPL applicants actually received the requested information is not known.
- In Maharashtra, 11,246 BPL applicants (1.76% of the total no. of successful applicants) received the information they requested. However the total number of applications submitted by BPL persons during this period is not known. In terms of sheer numbers, successful BPL applicants in Maharashtra were 10 times more than the total number of BPL applicants in Chhattisgarh.
- The Chhattisgarh State Information Commission has also captured data about applicants from traditionally disadvantaged communities such as Scheduled Castes (SCs – 3.38%) and Scheduled Tribes (STs – 3.06%). This data provides good feedback for the State Government to focus its public education efforts towards these disadvantaged communities – a statutory requirement under Section 26(1) of the Central RTI Act.
- In Chhattisgarh, the only State where the urban-rural breakup of RTI applicants is available, a little more than a fifth of the applicants (21%) were living in villages. About 79% of the RTI applications were filed by urban residents.
- Although nothing in the RTI Act requires Information Commissions to capture the age profile of RTI applicants in their report, the user data published by the J&K State Information Commission indicates that a substantial number of information seekers in that State may be young students. The University of Kashmir is reported to have received the highest number of RTI applications (1043) during the last years 2009-12.[iv] It is reasonable to expect that a substantial number of these applicants may be young students.
- The Revenue and Urban Development Departments topped the list of departments/public authorities that received the most number of RTI applications in the States of Karnataka and Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Commissioner, Land Administration whose mandate includes functions similar to that of Revenue Departments in other States topped the list. In Karnataka the Revenue and Urban Development Departments together accounted for more than 50% of the RTI applications received.
- Rural Development Departments (with or without the charge of Panchayati Raj) figure amongst the top 5 in 7 other States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. [v]
- The Police Department topped the list in Mizoram. The Home Department, including the police, topped the list in Chhattisgarh while in Maharashtra its counterpart occupied the second position. The Delhi Police and the Director General of Police in Andhra Pradesh also figure in the top 5 list. Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir are the only States where neither the Home Department nor the Police Department figures amongst the top 5.
- The State Public Service Commissions in Mizoram and Rajasthan figured amongst the top 5 indicating that most of the applicants might be employment seekers or serving officers.
- The Jaipur Development Authority and the University of Kashmir are the only public authorities outside of ministries and departments that topped the list amongst all 11 jurisdictions covered by this study.
- The Ministry of Finance received more than a fifth (20.41%) of the total number of RTI applications submitted to various public authorities under the Central Government.
- The Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi received more than 10% of the total number of RTI Applications accounted for in the Central Information Commission’s Annual Report.
 Section 25 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 provides as follows :
“ 1. The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each year, prepare a report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act during that year and forward a copy thereof to the appropriate Government.