‘Clipping SIC wings’ is an achievement for JK Govt

Revision Of RTI Rules Listed Among Major Accomplishments Of 2012

SPOTLIGHT

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Jan 2: What could be termed a baffling move, Jammu and Kashmir Government has highlighted review of RTI rules, aimed at ‘clipping wings’ of the State Information Commission (SIC), as one of its major achievements in 2012.
The State Government has enumerated RTI rules revision, which evoked strong criticism across the board, as one of its achievements during the last year. More surprisingly, the assertion comes at a time when authorities have dropped enough hints of revisiting the RTI amendments, after drawing flak for amending the old rules.
In an advertisement, which published in local dailies on Wednesday, titled “Special feature on achievements of Omar-led Government in 2012”, the NC-Congress coalition boasted of revising RTI Rules along with 33 other decisions taken by them in previous year.
While terming 2012 a “year of consolidation and good governance,” the  introductory lines of the  advertisement, which lists major initiatives taken by  the coalition government, states:  “The State Government also brought the laws of Right to Information Act at par with the Central law.”
“The cabinet approved revision of J&K RTI Rules,” the advertisement further reads.
Pertinently, on August 30, last year Jammu and Kashmir Government did away with the detailed Rules guiding implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act- 2009. On that day, the General Administration Department (GAD) notified new RTI Rules 2012 to replace RTI Rules 2009.
The move triggered widespread resentment among the stakeholders, who said the amendment was aimed at weakening SIC. Even State Congress Chief Prof Saifuddin Soz had termed the review of RTI Rules as “inappropriate.”
While Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), G R Sufi had protested against the decision, former CIC of the Government of India and chairperson of National Commission for Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah, had written a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asking  him to reconsider the decision.
Listing the review of RTI Rules as significant accomplishment, paradoxically, comes at a time when the state’s GAD has already conveyed to CIC that the inclusion of RTI Rules governing appointment of Secretary and Registrar of SIC is under consideration.
GAD has also informed him that “appropriate action on the matter (his suggestions) will be taken in due course of time.” The communiqué from GAD to CIC has come in response to a letter by Sufi to Chief Minister lodging protest over “weakening of administrative structure of SIC” by doing away with the old Rules.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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