Disclosure on human rights, corruption mandatory: CIC
‘Public Authorities Set Up By GOI In JK Fall Under The Purview Of State RTI Act’
Srinagar, Apr 29: Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Jammu and Kashmir GR Sufi Sunday said the disclosure of information about human rights violations and corruption by public authorities is mandatory and cannot be exempted in any circumstances under the state law.
“Bringing departments out of the purview of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information (RTI) Act - 2009, doesn’t mean that they can withhold information over human rights and corruption,” Sufi told Greater Kashmir in an exclusive chat.
Appointed first CIC of the state last year, Sufi said the information on the two subjects (human rights and corruption) is not exempted under any circumstances. “The RTI Act is clear that information cannot be withheld on the subjects of human rights and transparency even by the public authorities, notified by the government for non-application of the Act,” he said.
Asked whether the central government forces operating in JK fall under the purview of the J&K RTI Act, the CIC said; “The State Legislature has made it clear that all Public Authorities set up by the Central government within the territorial jurisdiction of the state come under the purview of the Act.”
Recently, the Commission directed First Appellate Authority (FAA) of Army’s 15 Corps to entertain an appeal of Shahnawaz Mir of Khansahab Budgam. Mir had approached Commission claiming that Army did not pass any order on his application.
The CIC acknowledged that majority of the government departments have failed to disclose information voluntarily under section (4) of RTI Act, and said that the Commission wouldn’t desist from taking action against the defaulters in accordance with the law.
“It is true that most of the departments have not complied with requirement of the law. After taking over, I started interacting with government departments and impressed upon them to make voluntary disclosures and will continue to press for it,” he said.
Under section (4) of the RTI Act, government departments have to disclose information about their functioning, employees etc on their own.
Sufi said the Commission is empowered to take disciplinary and legal action against the defaulting departments, who fail to furnish information and pass orders.
“We can initiate disciplinary action against the defaulters in accordance with the Act and RTI rules. Not only this, the Commission can direct Registrar to lodge complaint against the defaulters in court if circumstances warrant,” he said, adding that the Commission will name the public authorities who fail to comply with the rules before state legislature.
“We have to present report to the state legislature and we will be identifying the persistent and recalcitrant defaulters in it (report),” he said.
He, however, added that SIC action is subservient and subordinate to the Act and not to any person or stakeholders.
The CIC evaded direct reply to a query when asked about support of the government to SIC over matters like staff.
“I cannot say anything more than that I am pursuing the matter with the state government. I have met the Chief Minister regarding the matter many a times,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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