Srinagar: Seeking to make Kupwara a “model RTI” district, the district administration has invited the Jammu and Kashmir RTI Movement (J&K RTIM) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) to provide technical assistance to public authorities for implementing the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009.
Incidentally, J&K RTIM and CHRI are already working with stakeholders in Kulgam to make it a model RTI district in response to a similar invitation extended by Kulgam legislator MY Tarigami.
During a daylong training workshop on the J&K RTI Act, Hafeez Ahmed Shah, additional deputy commissioner admitted that the bureaucratic attitude of the public authorities was partly responsible for the inadequacies in the implementation of this people-empowering law. He also pointed out that some citizens and ‘activists’ in Kupwara were using the RTI Act to intimidate officers, which was unfortunately showing genuine RTI activists promoting the public interest, in poor light.
Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Chairperson, J&K RTI Movement and Co-Convenor, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCRPI), explained the key provisions of the J&K RTI Act to the participants placing special emphasis on the requirement of proactive disclosure of information to the people. He pointed out that volunteers of the J&K RTIM have always endeavored to use RTI in a constructive manner.
VenkateshNayak, Programme Coordinator, CHRI and Co-Convenor, NCPRI shared the latest developments in RTI related case law from the Supreme Court and various High Courts across the country while responding to the queries raised by PIOs about the challenges they faced in implementing the J&K RTI Act in letter and spirit.