Political parties in JK for restoration of old RTI Rules
Omitting Certain Rules Won’t Have Any Adverse Impact: GAD
Srinagar, Aug 31: A day after Jammu and Kashmir Government did away with the effective RTI Rules 2010 guiding the implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009, the political parties have joined the rallying cry for restoration of the old Rules.
Last evening, General Administration Department notified the new Rules, triggering widespread resentment among the stakeholders, including CIC G R Sufi, which they said were aimed at weakening the State Information Commission.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party minced no words in castigating state Government for “weakening the State Information Commission” by saying that present dispensation has eroded all institutions constituted for bringing transparency, accountability and the party endorsed the demand of CIC for restoration of RTI Rules 2010.
“The enforcement of RTI Act is not possible within the system as Information Commission has been rendered virtually powerless. What will happen now is that for any action people will have to go to the court like in the case of State Accountability Commission and all proceedings would become sub-judice with the result that the Government will be free not to part with any information,” PDP Chief Spokesman Naeem Akther told Greater Kashmir.
“This is a sad day for the state and all efforts made so far for building some institutions have come to a naught,” he said.
Akthar said not only the powers snatched from SIC should be restored but the Commission should be strengthened further.
Member Parliament of National Conference from south Kashmir, Dr. Mehboob Beg also demanded strengthening and empowerment of the SIC.
“We should make institutions more accountable and stronger to restore credibility of the system. In our case, the credibility of the system has been dented as people don’t have faith on the institutions,” Beg said.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) State Secretary, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said the decision tantamount to “blunting the edges” of SIC.
“It is unfortunate that instead of strengthening the SIC, Government has weakened it,” Tarigami said, adding the need of the hour was to provide all possible support to SIC as it could have been effective for ensuring accountability in governance.
Yesterday’s move to replace the old Rules has triggered widespread criticism from across the board.
While the number of rules framed for implementation of RTI Act in 2010 were 51, the Rules notified yesterday are 13.
The new rules have been criticized on the following provisions: In the old Rules there was some guidance for the first appellate authority about hearing first appeals. These have been deleted in the new rules. So now the first appellate authorities need to only adhere to the 30-45 day time limit for disposal of first appeal. There are no other rules applicable to them such as giving the appellant an opportunity to explain his case, etc.
The Information Commission could take action under the old Rules if a public authority did not comply with its orders. The new rules delete this provision. So the appellant will have no option but to file a writ in J&K High Court to seek enforcement of an order of the Information Commission. How many people can avail this expensive and time-consuming option is a big question.
The old Rules provided for the appointment of a Secretary to the Commission to assist the Commissioners. There were also Rules about appointment of staff of the Commission. The new Rules delete these provisions. This is hugely problematic. Though there is mention of the Registrar of the Commission in the new Rules, nothing in them clarify as to how the Registrar will be appointed.
The old Rules contained several provisions about the structure and the working of the Information Commission- such as division of labour, working hours, vacations etc. The new Rules delete all these provisions.
The new Rules don’t talk about formation of different wings like Registry, Legal Cell, Monitoring and Reporting Wing, Right to Information & Transparency Institute (RITI); procedure for filing First Appeal and filing of counter before First Appellate Authority.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Secretary General Administration Department, Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad said that the Rules deleted were against the spirit of RTI Act.
“The Rules which were deleted did not spring from the law and they could not be implemented practically as well. For example, the old Rules talked about criminal proceeding, but there was no legal backing for their implementation,” he said.
Mushtaq said state Government is committed to strengthen the Commission for bringing transparency and accountability in governance.
“The Commission has the powers to frame regulations for its internal functioning,” he said, adding that omitting certain Rules would not have any impact on the functioning of the Commission.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 31 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 31 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
Sensitive Assignment Gives Tough Time To DSP Raja Nighat Aman
Srinagar, Aug 31: Bollywood’s uncrowned king Shah Rukh Khan could be playing a daredevil army officer in his upcoming venture for the Yash Raj Films, but in real life a woman official of Jammu and Kashmir More
- 2 arrested for fake appointments in Baramulla Agriculture Department
- Effective monitoring must for better traffic management: DGP
- Once again, police prevent Geelani from offering Friday prayers
- Former interlocutors meet delegations of political parties, civil society
- New Delhi throws reports into dustbin: Hakim Yasin
- Srinagar City
Suspends 4 doctors, nurse
Srinagar, Aug 31: Four doctors and a staff nurse were placed under suspension last night by authorities for being allegedly absent from duty during nocturnal inspection of some government run hospitals More
Jammu, Aug 31: Reviewing the progress on computerization of land records in Jammu division, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal Friday emphasized the need of developing state’s expertise in IT applications to extend More