The Haryana State Information Commission has begun hearing applicants,struggling to get information under the Right to Information Act,through video conferencing. In fact,there have been instances where the chief information commissioner has heard applicants on telephone as well in case they are unable to communicate through video-conferencing.
In one such case,Information Commissioner Urvashi Gulati recently allowed Sirsa resident Yogesh Mudgil to represent his case through video-conferencing. Mudgil had sought information from the Sirsa district police under the RTI Act but had been struggling to get it. He filed an appeal before the State Information Commission that was heard last week will Gulati giving him relief from travelling all the way from Sirsa to Chandigarh by ordering that his appeal will be heard through video-conferencing on the next date of hearing fixed for August 29. The district administration at Sirsa was directed to arrange for the video conferencing.
We are here to make the life of people convenient. It is beauty of the Act that we can hear the applicants and redress their grievances. We have recently started this facility. For instance if somebody is very old and can not travel from far-flung areas of Haryana to Chandigarh,such a liberty is granted to those applicants. Many people who come to us are generally very poor and cannot afford the travel expenses. Thus we have started allowing them to come through video conferencing or even phone, Gulati told The Indian Express.
The Haryana State Information Commission is fully equipped with video conferencing facilities at its office in Chandigarh. On the similar lines,the offices of all the deputy commissioners across the state have also been equipped with the facility.
The video conferencing equipment have been fixed at the State Information Commission headquarters under the centrally-sponsored scheme Improving Transparency and Accountability in government through Effective Implementation of RTI Act,2005.
According to the given figures,around 40-45 appeals are filed in the Haryana State Information Commission every day. At present there are seven Information Commissioners in Haryana and the state government has recently invited applications for filling up the remaining three posts.