Rashid Paul

HC seeks status report from GAD

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J&K RTI Act…

Srinagar, Apr 03: The J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the General Administration Department (GAD) to file a report by 15th of May about the implementation of section 4 of the J&K Right to Information Act (RTI) by all the State government departments.

A division bench on Tuesday sought a status report from GAD indicating therein the complete details from all the State government departments about the implementation of section 4 of the RTI Act by or before next date of hearing of the case scheduled for 15th of the next month.

A Public Interest litigation (PIL) filed in the court prayed for directions to GAD for proper implementation of the 2009 Act in the state to facilitate putting into public domain the information on matters of general importance by the officials.

According to the petition, section 4 and section 23 of the Jammu and Kashmir RTI Act categorically states that every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed.

It says that the authority should have all the records and publish the information within 120 days.

The information, it said, must include powers and duties of officers, procedure followed in the decision making process, rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, all should be disclosed to general masses.

The PIL has been filed on grounds that under the RTI Act 2009, the information shall be disclosed voluntary for public good and awareness; shall be imparted among masses under section 23 of the Act.

The petition has been filed by J&K Right to Information Movement (J&K RTI Movement) through its chairman Raja Muzaffar Bhat.

It states that the preamble of the J&K RTI Act 2009, was brought with an intention that legislature will promote transparency and accountability among public authorities in order to ensure good governance in the state.

The counsel of petitioner, Advocate Shafqat Nazir sought the intervention of the court so that all the permissible information is made public within 120 days from the date of commencement of the act.

The court was informed through petition that the Act came to force on 20th March 2009 and by July 19, 2009 the authorities were expected to comply with the said provision of law.

However, no information has been disclosed voluntarily by the authorities as they failed miserably in implementation of the supposed sections of the law.

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