The Finance Ministry rejected highest number of RTI applications received by it during 2016-17, the year in which it had implemented demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency, the annual report released by the Central Information Commission today said. The data cited by the report shows that among all the union ministries and central government departments, the Finance Ministry rejected 18.41 per cent of 1,51,186 applications received by it during the said period. The Finance Ministry was closely followed by the Home Ministry which rejected 16.08 per cent of 59,828 applications addressed to it, it said.
The number of Right to Information (RTI) applications has come down from 9.76 lakh in 2015-16 to 9.17 lakh in 2016-17 – a dip of 6.1 per cent, it said. Among these, 6.59 per cent applications were rejected by the public authorities during the year. The overall proportion of rejection for the central government (including UTs) has come down marginally from 6.62 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.59 per cent in 2016-17.
According to the CIC, the top authority in monitoring the implementation of the RTI in the country, the public authorities, in maximum cases, cited exemption clauses like state interests, personal information, information forbidden from disclosure by the country, fiduciary capacity listed under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.
The Ministry of Home Affairs received 59,828 RTI applications during 2016-17 even though 33 public authorities under it reported 57,657 RTI applications the previous year. The proportion of rejection of the MHA has gone up considerably to 16.10 per cent in 2016-17 from the 14 per cent reported in 2015-16. A bulk of these RTIs (6,422) were rejected by the exempt organisations under this Ministry such as the Assam Rifles, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)etc.