Wajahat expresses displeasure
Former CIC Asks Omar To Reconsider Decision
RTI RULES AMENDMENT ROW
Srinagar, Sep 9: With opposition to the amendments in Right to Information (RTI) Rules in J&K growing louder, the former Central Chief Information Commissioner and the incumbent chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah has shot-off a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to convey his “disagreement over the amendments” asking the latter to reconsider the decision.
Reliable sources told Greater Kashmir that Wajahat, who was the first CIC at the Centre, has conveyed his displeasure to Omar Abdullah over the “disempowerment” of the State Information Commission (SIC) by the state government.
Pertinently, Jammu and Kashmir Government, in a surprising move, last month repealed the RTI Rules-2010 and replaced them with feeble RTI Rules-2012, triggering widespread consternation among the public and the stakeholders. While Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), GR Sufi voiced strong opposition to the amendments by accusing government of “devouring the soul of the RTI Act - 2009”, the Pradesh Congress Committee too joined the bandwagon of opponents.
Although the actual contents of the detailed letter sent by Wajahat to Omar couldn’t be known, but sources told this newspaper that the former CIC has opposed the amendments which will “impair” the functioning of SIC, but at the same time patted the CM for reduction of fee. According to them, the former CIC, has disagreed with the state’s contention that the “amendment in the rules was necessitated as these were beyond the scope of the Act and has presented sound arguments to substantiate his claims in the letter.”
“He has asked CM to reconsider the decision,” they said.
Confirming the development, Wajahat told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi that he has written a letter to CM to express his disagreement over some of the newly framed Rules which impact the functioning of SIC.
“I have suggested him to reconsider the decision,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Wajahat during his stint as CIC had played a vital role in framing of the State RTI Rules and General Administration Department (GAD) then headed by Basharat Dhar had consulted him frequently while making the Rules. Majority of the old State Rules were framed by GAD on the suggestions of Wajahat and other noted legal experts and RTI activists.
After coming under the line of fire for replacing RTI Rules, State Government had claimed that the amendments in the Rules were necessitated as these were not in tune with the Act, while partially putting onus on CIC saying that he had also proposed some changes. But CIC expressed astonishment over the state theory and has written a letter to GAD asking them to public the two letters in which he had proposed amendments.
While Jammu and Kashmir Government has not made public the contents of the two letters, sources said Commission is mulling to divulge the contents to undo what they say the government’s deliberate attempt to malign the Commission by blaming it for amendments.
The powers of SIC were curtailed barely days after it asked Jammu and Kashmir Government to disclose the information about the unmarked graves and encounters that took place during past twenty years. Since its constitution, SIC has passed some landmark judgments and was considered most successful institution of public transparency and accountability.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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