SIC MIFFED OVER LAX IMPLEMENTATION
Asks Departments To Host Information On Websites Within One Month
RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT
Srinagar, Apr 18: Upset over failure of several departments in implementing Right to Information Act 2009 in letter and spirit, the State Information Commission has asked Jammu and Kashmir Government to pass directions to different departments to make suo moto disclosures within one month.
“The Commission recommends that the nodal department i.e. General Administration Department will issue a time frame of maximum one month for the identified public authorities to fully implement Section (4) and make a suo moto declaration on their websites,” reads the directions to Chief Secretary by Chief Information Commissioner G R Sufi and Information Commissioner S K Sharma.
While observing that there has been lax approach by Jammu and Kashmir Government in ensuring implementation of section (4) of the Act, the Commission said Government did nothing more than issuing two orders for the purpose.
“The perusal has shown that the administration after issuing two circulars in 2009 and 2010 did not later on pursue the issue of implementing Section 4. Nothing has been brought on record to show that there has been any follow up action by the Administrative Secretaries after issuing of initial circulars in 2009 and 2010. The circular issued in January 2012 is obviously the result of persistent efforts made by the Commission for implementation of Section 4. The Commission considers that if periodical reviews as envisaged in Circular No. 25-GAD of 2009 dated: 05/06/2009 were made with particular emphasis on the implementation of Section 4 of the Act, the results would have been better,” the order reads.
Pertinently, the SIC had shot number of missives to JK Government over failure of Government departments in making pro-active disclosures and had also summoned Chief Secretary two months ago.
As per RTI Act, Government departments have to disclose details about their functioning, employees etc, on their own.
Noting that there has been dismal performance of in making voluntary disclosures, the order reveals that “50% of the Departments are yet to think of creating their websites not to speak of hosting information thereon.”
“Of the 36 listed administrative departments (Civil Secretariat level), 23 departments have opened the websites, 3 departments have hosted Section 4 on websites and 20 departments have displayed particulars of PIO/FAA. Similarly, out of 204 listed subordinate departments (HODs)/line departments, 94 have launched the websites, just 10 have prepared and uploaded the voluntary disclosure of information under Section 4 and 35 have featured the particulars of PIO/FAA. Thus, the compliance with statutory provisions of Section 4 leaves much to be desired,” it further says.
The Commission also revealed that number of departments are yet to appoint Public Information Officers and Ist Appellate Authorities for disposing off RTI applications.
“Though there has been appreciable work in designating and appointing PIOs, APIOs and Ist Appellate Authorities; it has been noticed that there are still certain public authorities who have not at all designated such authorities. These authorities may kindly immediately be directed to discharge the legal obligation cast on them under Section 5 of the Act. The attention of defaulting Public Authorities may be drawn to Rule 45 of State RTI Rules, 2010,” it further reads.
While making some other observation over implementation of the Act, the Commission has asked Chief Secretary to submit feedback, on its recommendations, within a month from the receipt of the order.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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