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Need info through RTI, be patient and wait before CIC clears 38,000 pending appeals

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Getting information through Right to Information or RTI applicantion is not a child’s play. Whether you want to know about the utilisation of funds in any government run projects in your locality or you are eager to seek information from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Supreme Court or the Municipal Corporation, patience is the mantra for you.

The  government disclosed that close to 38,000 second appeals under the Right to Information Act or RTI are pending with the Central Information Commission or CIC in a written reply to Loksabha this year. According to the government data as many as 22,000 appeals were waiting to be heard till August last year.

“The Prime Minister’s Office is among the top public authorities to reject the maximum number of RTI applications received by them during 2013-14’’ states CIC Annual Report.

RTI activists believe that the delay in appointment of a new Chief Information Commissioner, after the former CIC chief Rajiv Mathur retired in August last year can be one of the reason. RTI Act clearly mentions that the applications and first appeals are required to be mandatorily disposed off within 30 days of their receipt. However, no time limit has been prescribed for disposal of second appeals pending with the CIC.

 

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SC Allows ‘Living Will’ Of Terminally Ill Persons

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Supreme Court of India
  • SC allows living will for the terminally ill patients
  • SC says the person has ‘right to die with dignity’
  • In a living will, a  person can choose not to prolong his or her life using artificial means

The Supreme Court on Friday said a person has the “right to die with dignity” and can make an advance “living will” authorising the withdrawal of life support system if in medical view he has reached an irreversible stage of terminal illness.

While allowing a person to make the advance directive or living will, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, however, attached strict conditions for executing the “will” made by a person in his normal state of health and mind.

Supreme court give terminally ill patients the 'living will''
Supreme court give terminally ill patients the ‘living will”

In the living will, a person can state in advance that his or her life should not be prolonged with a ventilator or artificial support system. The bench, also including judges A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

Recognising the “right to die with dignity”, the court permitted a person to draft in advance a living will in case she/he slips into an incurable condition. “To deprive an individual of dignity at the end of life is to deprive him of meaningful existence,” said Justice Chandrachud while allowing the living will for passive euthanasia.

Also Read: Ethical Dispute Erupts Over Euthanasia Rules

The court said the life support can be removed only after the statutory medical board declares the patient to be incurable. The bench said its guidelines and directives should remain in force till a legislation was brought to deal with the issue.

“Life and death are inseparable. Bodies involve continuous change but mind remains constant… Death represents culmination of life… Freedom, liberty are core of meaningful life,” Justice Chandrachud said. The court pronounced four separate but concurring judgements.

The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons
The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons

The court’s verdict came on a plea filed in 2005 by an NGO Common Cause seeking the right to make a living will authorising the withdrawal of life support system in the event of the will-makers reaching an irreversible vegetative state.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said that since a patient under coma cannot express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured. In the absence of a law authorising doctors to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he said. IANS