CIC Criticizes Election Commission’s Delayed Response to RTI Query on EVMs

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
WhatsApp

In a significant development, the Central Information Commission (CIC) rebuked the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its prolonged delay in responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query concerning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Chief Information Commissioner Heeralal Samariya expressed strong displeasure at the ECI’s failure to adhere to the provisions of the RTI Act, emphasizing the importance of timely and transparent communication between government bodies and citizens.

The case stemmed from an RTI application filed by retired civil servant MG Devasahayam in November 2022, seeking crucial information related to a representation submitted to the ECI regarding the credibility of EVMs and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines during elections. Despite the mandatory 30-day timeframe for responding to RTI requests, Devasahayam did not receive a reply from the ECI or any subsequent updates on his first appeal, prompting him to escalate the matter to the CIC in March the following year.

The RTI application sought detailed insights into the representation, including the names of individuals and authorities involved, minutes of relevant meetings, copies of correspondence, and access to all pertinent records held by the ECI. Despite repeated follow-ups, the ECI failed to provide the requested information, prompting the CIC to intervene.

During the proceedings, the CIC castigated the ECI for its lax approach and directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) to furnish a written explanation for the delay within 30 days. Additionally, the Commission mandated the prompt sharing of the requested information, free of cost, and ordered the submission of a compliance report within the stipulated timeframe.

Also Read  Supreme Court Sets Precedent: Officer Must Record Reasons for Arrest/Search under NDPS Act

RTI activist Amrita Johri represented Devasahayam in the proceedings, underscoring the importance of transparency and accountability in government functioning. Officials from the Election Commission of India appeared before the CIC to address the concerns raised by the Commission.

This ruling underscores the fundamental right of citizens to access information held by public authorities and emphasizes the need for government bodies to uphold transparency and accountability standards in their operations.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave Your Comment

Recent News

Editor's Pick