SRINAGAR: Former chief information commissioner (CIC), India, and Chairperson, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Wajahat Habibullah on Sunday underlines the need for implementing the RTI Act more effectively without amending it.
As per an official handout issued from J&K RTI Movement and CHRI, Habibullah, addressed a seminar organised to commemorate ‘Twelve years of RTI in J&K’ at Centre for Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir. The day (March 20) is also observed as RTI Day.
On the occasion, Habibullah urged activists and RTI users to bring pressure on the government departments and public authorities to implement section 4 of the RTI Act more effectively. He said awareness must be spread about RTI among the people particularly the disadvantaged segments of society.
Chairperson J&K RTI Movement, Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool said, “As we see the lack of awareness among PIOs regarding RTI law, more such trainings will be delivered to them. We will further take up advocacy on certain rules of the Act to make it more powerful.”
Poet, historian, and critic, Zareef Ahmed Zareef, deliberated on “how corruption has arisen in Kashmiri society, how it is taking us away from morality and religion, and how activists and youth can come forward and help in its eradication”.
“People need not resort to violence or stone pelting to demand reform and accountability. Instead, they can use pen and paper to demand transparency and accountability through the RTI Act,” said Peer Mohiuddin, a founder member of JKRTIM.
CHRI program coordinator, Venkatesh Nayak, said 1246 crores are being spent under different heads like education, health, tribal welfare, student welfare, and urban infrastructure improvement programme in J&K. “The use of RTI can be made to track the expenditure to ensure that there is no corruption or leakages in the spending,” he said.
A new improved version of user guide RTI Act- 2009 was also launched at the event.