State government has warned the officers of strict action in case they fail to implement the provision of the right to information act (RTI) which seeks to ensure transparency here.
In an order which has been issued by the general administration department (GAD), it has been noted that the officers have shown slackness in the implementation of the RTI in the state. The GAD has referred to the directives which have been issued earlier in this regard noting that no compliance was being reported in this regard.
The order which has been issued by the GAD read that the implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009, has not been done properly, adding that earlier a circular of -GAD dated 35 May 2017, in terms of section 5(1) and 5(2) of the RTI Act, 2009, and circular no. 25-GAD of 2009 dated 5 June 2009 and circular no 15-GAD of 2012 dated 27 April 2012, was issued by the government in this regard.
The state government has noted that the Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) have not been designated to deal with the case of the RTIs.
“It was impressed upon all the Administrative Secretaries including Public Authorities to ensure that the authorities under their administrative control designate the PIOs/APIOs within the stipulated time frame. It has been observed that the instructions already issued are not being adhered to in letter and spirit and the PIOs and FAAs (Officers senior to the PIOs) in the Public Authorities have not been designated.
Besides, it has been observed that the names of the designated PIOs and FAAs have not been notified and placed in the public domain through the websites of the respective departments,’’ read the GAD order, adding further that “ it was impressed upon all the Administrative Secretaries and Public Authorities of the state to ensure effective implementation of the provisions of section 5(1) and 5(2) of Right to Information Act, 2009 by appointing PIOs and FAAs of an appropriate seniority wherever it has not been done or where no substitutes have been designated.’’ State government had claimed that the RTI will ensure better governance, but officials said that the cases of RTI are not being dealt swiftly.
The Jammu and introduced the concept of transparency law as early as in 2004. In 2004, the state legislature passed the Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act which empowered every citizen in the state to obtain information from the In-charge of the office and the information was to be supplied within a period of 30 days. Subsequently stronger Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act, 2009, was passed in the year 2009, which shortened the list of prohibitory exemptions. But the implementation of the Act is wanting on the ground, a senior official said.