SRINAGAR: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) deputation lead by Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator, New Delhi called on JK’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Khurshid Ahmad Ganai to discuss the status of implementation of the J&K RTI Act 2009 in the State.
He was accompanied by Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Chairman, RTI Movement J&K, Junaid Indrabi, Convener, J&K RTI Movement and Shikha Chibber of CHRI, Delhi.
The Programme Coordinator raised the issue of non-compliance by Public Authorities of the provisions under Section 4 of the J&K RTI Act regarding suo-moto disclosure of information, awareness of the RTI law among the general public particularly in the far-flung areas of the State like Gurez, Ladakh, Kupwara, Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch etc.
The CHRI team highlighted the need for training of the Public Information Officers(PIOs) and First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) on the grounds that there is lack of adequate understanding about the duties and responsibilities of the PIOs and FAAs under the RTI Act.
The Programme Coordinator informed the CIC, that CHRI is planning to visit certain far-flung areas in the State for awareness generation. The deputation also informed the CIC about the seminar on the RTI held recently at Central University, Kashmir.
The CIC informed the deputation about various steps being taken by the State Information Commission(SIC) and the State Government for generating awareness and for implementation of the RTI Act at the level of the PIOs and FAAs which is the cutting edge level. It was also informed that over 80 orders of the CIC in the 2nd appeals and complaints filed before the Commission have been uploaded on the State Information Commission (SIC) website since March,2017 after the SIC was made functional with the appointment of the present CIC.
The CIC also referred to various Notifications and Circulars issued by the SIC and the General Administration Department impressing upon the PIOs and FAAs for effective implementation of the J&K RTI Act,2009. He also stated that that Roundtable with the RTI Activists and the Government officials for awareness generation and training of Government officials have already been held in five districts and the balance 17 districts will be covered by the end of the current financial year i.e, March,2018.
The Programme Coordinator (CHRI) assured the CIC of all cooperation and invited the CIC to participate in the CHRI sponsored conference to be held at Bhubaneswar in October. The CIC thanked the deputationists from CHRI for taking keen interest in the RTI activities in the State and for helping to generate awareness among the general public and Government functionaries.