Activists seek measures to strengthen JKRTI Act

Nayeem Rather

Srinagar: The JK Right to Information Movement Friday held protests here urging the government to take measures for strengthening the JKRTI Act.
The protests were held at several places to mark the 6th anniversary of the RTI Day.
The protesting activists said that government must restore the 2010 rules in the amended Act.They said the rules were deleted from JK RTI Act in 2012 and also demanded the fast track implementation of section 4(1) b of JK RTI Act 2009 that deals with pro-active disclosures and section 23 that deals with awareness about the Act.
“The government is deliberately not implementing theses sections. The politicians and the bureaucrats are creating hurdles in implementation of these the rules as their corrupt practices will be exposed” JK RTI Movement chairman Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool told Kashmir Reader. “It seems that the government is not ready to end corruption and empower people,” he added.
He further said that the JK should be made a corruption free state and that “the monopoly of the bureaucrats should end.”
Dr. Rasool said that the non-implementation of section 23 of the Act indicates that the government does not want to strengthen the people. “Section 23 makes it necessary that the citizens should be made aware about the powers of the RTI Act but no such campaigns are launched by the government. It is the total violation of fundamental rights of the citizens” said Dr Rasool.
The RTI movement activists said that the section 21 of the RTI Act, which calls for social audit of the government departments, should also be implemented. “The activists and the common people who demand the audit in the government departments are being harassed and intimidated by the officials. It should end, and it will only end if section 21 is enforced,” spokesperson JKRTI Movement Farooq Kuhtoo said.
He also questioned the functioning of the State Information Commission and demanded that it should advocate for the implementation of the JK RTI Act in toto.
The organization also sought government intervention in inclusion of the demands like passing whistle blower protection Bill that can ensure safety of the activists, setting fast track courts to decide cases pertaining to RTI Act, termination of corrupt officials and legislators, strengthening and restructuring State Vigilance Commission and State Accountability Commission and reopening of all infamous scandals cases especially the 20026 sex scandal.