October 9, the Supreme Court directed all State Information Commissions (SICs) to provide litigants with hybrid mode as well as to hear complaints and appeals under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra directed SICs across the country to ensure that e-filing of complaints and appeals is provided to all litigants.
The bench said the use of technology is no longer an option. It observed that access to justice is a part of the fundamental right under Article 21 and a necessary concomitant to freedom of speech.
“All State and Central Ministries shall take steps within a period of one month to compile the e-mail addresses of the Central and State Public Information Officers (PIO) which shall be furnished to all the SICs and the Central Information Commission (CIC).
For implementation of this order, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) shall convene a meeting of all State and Central Information Commissioners to prepare a timeline to adhere to the above directive. State to provide funds wherever required,” the bench ordered.
The top court passed the order while hearing a plea seeking directions for better functioning of SICs.
The petition said SICs should hear complaints as well as appeals by giving an option of both physical as well as virtual hearing through digital platforms. The bench disposed of the plea as it ordered all SICs to ensure hybrid hearings and electronic filing of cases are implemented.
(with inputs from ANI)