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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

6-September-2023

Q1. Analyze the challenges faced by the Central Information Commission (CIC) in dealing with frivolous and vexatious RTI applications. Suggest measures to deter misuse of the RTI Act and maintain a balance between transparency and privacy concerns.

Answer:

The Central Information Commission (CIC) is an independent statutory body in India that ensures transparency and accountability by facilitating access to information and serving as an appellate authority for matters related to the implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Challenges Faced by CIC:

  • Lack of Clarity in RTI Act: The RTI Act lacks a clear definition of frivolous and vexatious applications, making identification difficult for the CIC.
  • Targeted Harassment: In some cases, individuals with malicious intent have been known to use RTI applications as a means of targeted harassment against public officials or organizations.
  • Delayed Disposal of Cases: On an average, CIC takes more than 12 months to dispose of a case leading to the huge compilation of applications every year.
  • Subjective Nature of Applications: Determining frivolous or vexatious status involves subjective judgment, leading to challenges in consistency among officers and cases.
  • Resource constraints: Limited resources strain the CIC when dealing with numerous frivolous applications, diverting attention from genuine requests.
  • Burden on adjudication: Processing frivolous applications adds workload, reducing efficiency in addressing legitimate matters.
  • Insufficient deterrents: Existing penalties may not effectively discourage misuse of the RTI Act, further burdening the CIC.
  • Public awareness: Lack of knowledge about the Act leads to improper application submission, necessitating awareness campaigns.

Suggested Measures:

  • Encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Law Commission suggested exploring alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for RTI disputes.
  • Strengthen the CIC’s Powers: including the authority to dismiss such applications at an early stage, levy penalties, and take action against habitual offenders.
  • Proper Documentation and Record-Keeping: Establish a robust system for transparent documentation and record-keeping of RTI applications, responses, and decisions.
  • Public interest test: Introduce a test to assess whether the public interest in disclosing sensitive information outweighs the individual’s right to privacy.
  • Technology-driven solutions: Utilize technology to streamline the RTI process, including online applications and digitized record-keeping, enhancing efficiency and transparency.
  • Public Consultation and Feedback: Seek input from stakeholders to continuously review and refine the implementation of the RTI Act, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness in balancing transparency and privacy concerns.

Conclusion

With a focus on continuous improvement, capacity building, and public awareness, the CIC can pave the way for a brighter future where transparency, accountability, and the right to information are upheld, fostering a more informed and participatory society.

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Q2. How does the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023, impact forest conservation and indigenous rights in northeastern states like Mizoram and Nagaland, considering the constitutional and legal aspects involved?

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