Govt pulls up depts for ignoring RTI

Govt pulls up depts for ignoring RTI

The order has been issued a day after the Governor NN Vohra directed the government officials to file their Annual Property Returns (APRs) by January 31 .

Taking serious note of the failure of various departments to voluntarily disclose information under the Right to Information Act, the Government led by Governor NN Vohra on Thursday directed the administrative secretaries to implement provisions of the Act in “letter and spirit” to ensure transparency and accountability.

“It has been observed that the provisions of Section 4 of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, are not being followed strictly and despite repeated instructions, many departments have not hosted the requisite information, as required under the Act. The other measures for introducing transparency like electronic mode of payments also need further impetus and attention,” MA Bukhari, Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department (GAD), states in his order.

The order has been issued a day after the Governor NN Vohra directed the government officials to file their Annual Property Returns (APRs) by January 31 and all the administrative secretaries to review the progress of all pending corruption cases against officials on weekly basis. Since the imposition of the Governor’s rule in the state on January 8, Vohra has issued standing directions to ensure good governance by “curbing the menace of corruption in public service delivery.”

The GAD order states that the Right to Information Act was enacted in the State with a view to securing access to the information under the control of Public Authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every Public Authority.

“Attention of all the Administrative Secretaries is invited towards various circulars issued on the subject, from time to time. The need for voluntary disclosure of information by the Public Authorities has also been highlighted in various meetings taken by the Chief Secretary including the Committee of Secretaries (CoS),’’ it states.

The order states that it has time and again been impressed upon all the departments to ensure that their official websites are constructed and all relevant data including email address of administrative secretaries, as required under the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2009, is hosted on it.

“The introduction of e-tendering and e-payments is also a step towards infusing more transparency in the system and requires to be promoted further. The Works Departments have already issued instructions for resorting to e-tender in respect of works above a specified limit and issued instructions and guidelines accordingly. Other departments also need to examine the matter and issue necessary orders as per the felt needs,’’ it states.

The GAD directed all the Administrative Secretaries to ensure that the provisions of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2009 are implemented in letter and spirit.

“The Administrative Secretaries shall ensure to that the relevant information, as required, is available on the official websites of the departments. Besides they shall devise a mechanism for periodic review/ update of the official websites,” the order states. 

It states that the arrangement may be reviewed in respect of subordinate offices/ departments also and action taken furnished accordingly.

“The Administrative Secretaries shall promote transparency by encouraging e-tendering, e-procurement and making payments electronically or through cheques,” it further states.