“Not An Option”: Supreme Court Tells Information Commissions To Go Hybrid

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The Supreme Court, in a big push for Right to Information (RTI), directed all State Information Commissions (SICs) to provide litigants an option to file their complaints and appeals online and give them a hybrid mode for the hearing of their cases under the RTI Act, 2005.
The Supreme Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to the SICs and the Central Information Commission to function in a hybrid mode.

The petitioner’s counsel said that in some states one has to travel far to be present during a court hearing. “There is a fee of ₹ 10 to attend but they have to spend thousands of rupees to travel,” he said.

Hearing the case, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said, “Using technology is no longer an option. Technology has the potential to ensure access to justice by eliminating the need for citizens to travel long distances to secure their right to be heard.”

“Access to justice is an integral part of Article 21 of Fundamental Rights. All State Information Commissioners (SICs) are required to provide hybrid hearings of complaints and appeals. Steps should be taken to ensure that the service is effective online,” he said.

“Every state, as the case may be, shall take steps within a month to compile the email addresses of the CIC and SIC. The Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training will convene a meeting with all SICs to fix the timeframe within a month. The DoPT’s website will be free to avail the facilities of the NIC,” the CJI said.

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