Constituted through an Official Gazette Notification under the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005). Hence, it is not a constitutional body. But it has quasi judicial powers. It is a high-powered independent body which inter alia looks into the complaints made to it and decides the appeals. It entertains complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc., under the Central Government and the Union Territories.
The Central Information Commission shall consist of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and such number of Central Information Commissioners not exceeding 10 as may be deemed necessary.
Section 12(3) of the RTI Act 2005 provides as follows:
- The Prime Minister shall be the Chairperson of the Committee.
- The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and
- A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
Quasi Judicial Powers and Functions
The powers and functions of the Central Information Commission are:
- It is the duty of the Commission to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person:
- The Commission can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds (suo-moto power).
- While inquiring, the Commission has the powers of a civil court in respect of the following matters :
- During the inquiry of a complaint, the Commission may examine any record which is under the control of the public authority and no such record may be withheld from it on any grounds. In other words, all public records must be given to the Commission during inquiry for examination.
- The Commission has the power to secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority. This includes:
- The Commission submits an annual report to the Central Government on the implementation of the provisions of this Act.
The Central Government places this report before each House of Parliament. The Central Information Commission/State Information Commission has a Quasi Judicial duty to receive complaints from any person –
• who has not been able to submit an information request because a PIO has not been appointed
• who has been refused information that was requested;
• who has received no response to his/her information request within the specified time limits ;
• who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable ;
• who thinks information given is incomplete or false or misleading ;and any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law.
Quasi Judicial Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds
CIC/SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as –
• summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
• requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
• receiving evidence on affidavit ;
• requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office
p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>• issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents • any other matter which may be prescribed.