“The Central Information Commission (CIC) is the highest appellate authority under the RTI Act, however it has its own limits.” Discuss the CIC’s powers and functions in this situation. (150 words)

  • GS Paper 2 Politics and Governance


  • First, provide a brief overview of the Central Information Commission.
  • Show how, through its powers and functions, it serves as the highest appeal body under the RTI Act.
  • List some of its drawbacks.
  • Provide a suitable conclusion.


The Central Information Commission (CIC) is a statutory organisation established by the Central Government through an Official Gazette Notification in 2005 in accordance with the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005). The CIC is a powerful independent agency that investigates complaints and makes decisions on appeals. It hears complaints and appeals pertaining to Central Government and Union Territories offices, financial institutions, public sector organisations, and so on.


Under the RTI Act, the Commission serves as the highest appellate authority and has the following powers and functions:

It is the Commission’s responsibility to receive and investigate any complaint from any person who has not been able to submit an information request due to the non-appointment of a Public Information Officer (PIO) or has been refused information that was requested; who has not received a response to his information request or believes the fees charged are unreasonable; or who believes the information given is incomplete, misleading, or false; or any other matter relating to obtaining information.

If there are reasonable grounds for it, the Commission might order an investigation into any matter (suo-moto power).

During an investigation, the Commission has the powers of a civil court in areas such as summoning and compelling the attendance of witnesses, compelling them to give oral or written evidence under oath, and compelling them to produce documents or things, etc.

All public records must be provided to the Commission during an investigation of a complaint.

The Commission also has the jurisdiction to compel public authorities to follow its rulings. This includes directing the public authority to appoint a Public Information Officer in the absence of one; improving training provisions for officials on the Right to Information; requesting an annual report from the public authority on compliance with this Act; and imposing penalties under the RTI Act, among other things.

When a public authority fails to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act, the Commission may suggest (to the authority) steps that should be taken to promote such compliance.

CIC, on the other hand, has some limitations, such as:

The central government controls its terms of office, salary and allowances, and other working conditions.

Noncompliance with CIC orders

There is no unified database of RTI applications at the federal or state levels.

Personnel and infrastructure limitations;

Cases are still pending, for example.


Any amendments made by the RTI Amendment Bill 2019 should not undermine the goal of establishing this autonomous body that judges the propriety of official action in limiting access to information.


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