The National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for speedy and transparent appointment of Central Information Commissioners.
In its letter to the Prime Minister, the NCPRI noted the CIC has been functioning at a reduced strength for five months with two positions of Information Commissioners lying vacant.
Noting that that the CIC website showed around 27, 000 pending appeals and complaints before it as on June 1, it said: "The vacancies are hindering peoples' fundamental right to information as guaranteed under the RTI Act, 2005. "
The group said that fewer Information Commissioners hearing cases leads to increased pendency resulting in people having to wait for a long time for their appeals and complaints to be heard by the commission.
It emphasised that Information Commissions are the final appellate authority and are entrusted with the crucial task of deciding appeals and complaints of persons who have been unable to secure information in accordance with the RTI Act or are aggrieved by violations of the Act.
While the Department of Personnel and Training had invited applications for the posts in September 2016, well before the vacancies arose, no appointments have been made till date, according to the letter.
NCPRI also expressed its deep concern in the lack of transparency in the appointment process.
"In response to an application filed under the RTI Act, the DoPT has denied information about the process adopted for shortlisting candidates.
"The department has refused to disclose even the names of people who have applied in response to the DoPT circular inviting applications for the two posts, " it said, adding that the Supreme Court has underlined the need for transparency in the appointment of Information Commissioners.
Courts have struck down appointments of several Information Commissioners in State Information Commissions on account of lack of transparency in the process of appointments, it said.