CIC asks Omar to ‘reconsider changes’


Srinagar, Dec 20: In the line of fire for repealing the Right to Information Act Rules of 2010, the Jammu and Kashmir Government, in a damage control exercise, is actively considering inclusion of provisions related to the Secretary and Registrar of the State Information Commission in the new set of rules.
The development comes after the Chief Information Commissioner GR Sufi wrote a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah lodging therein his  protest over “weakening of administrative structure of the State Information Commission” by deleting the old rules.
Highly placed sources told Greater Kashmir the General Administration Department has formally conveyed to the CIC that the matter of inclusion of Rules governing appointment of Secretary and Registrar is under consideration.
The GAD has also said that “appropriate action on the matter will be taken in due course of time.”
In the letter to CM, the CIC has restricted his resentment to deletion of the Rules pertaining to the internal functioning of the Commission and has not touched other ‘drastic changes’ made in the Rules.
Asserting that the Rules were changed in a hasty manner, the CIC has written that the new Rules are silent about the rank of an official to be posted as Secretary SIC.
“Even the new Rules framed by the State Government were not in consonance with the Central RTI Rules. For instance, Central Rules state that an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India should act as Secretary to the Commission but the newly framed state Rules don’t talk about the position of Secretary,” the letter reportedly reads.
The CIC has pleaded that there was a provision about the rank of Secretary in recommendatory bodies like State Women’s Commission and State Accountability Commission.
“But the punitive body like SIC has been ignored vis-à-vis position of Secretary,” the letter further reads.
Pertinently the State Government did away with the detailed Rules guiding the implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act- 2009.
On August 30, the Government vide SRO no. 279 dated 30th Aug 2012 replaced RTI Rules 2010 with new RTI Rules 2012, evoking strong criticism from many quarters. The Congress too opposed the move which was seen as a deliberate attempt by the Government to clip the wings of SIC as some bureaucrats were reportedly feeling the heat due to exercising of powers by the Commission as vested in the old Rules.
While the Chief Information Commissioner, G R Sufi, had protested the decision, the former Central Chief Information Commissioner and chairperson of National Commission for Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah, had also written a letter to CM asking  him to reconsider the decision.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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