NEW DELHI (TIP): As the first woman chief information commissioner, Deepak Sandhu, who has been media advisor to the PM and spokesperson for the government, on September 5 said the RT Act had altered the relationship between citizens and government from a “mai-baap” one to a culture of accountability and transparency. Sandhu, who was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee, said her priority would be to address the 20,000 pending cases at the earliest. A former Indian Information Service officer of 1971 batch, Sandhu has served in many key positions like principal director general (media and communications), Press Information Bureau; director general, DD News; director general (news), All India Radio before taking over as information commissioner in 2009.

The 64-year-old will be in office for only three months. “We are waiting for new commissioners who are likely to be appointed soon. It will ease our burden of disposal of cases and also reduce the pendency at the commission,” she said. Sandhu succeeded Satyananda Mishra who demitted office on Wednesday after a five-year in the commission during which he headed the bench which declared political parties to be under the ambit of the RTI Act. Sandhu also stressed on the implementation of Section 4 of the Act that mandates pro-active disclosure. “Section 4 is at the heart of the Act and the RTI Act has firmly taken root. But it will take some time for government to imbibe it completely. Public authorities are slowly but definitely moving towards it,” she said.

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