State Information Commission today issued a notification invoking section 22(5) of J&K RTI Act, 2009 for strict implementation of the act.
The notification reads that “if it appears to the State Information Commission that the practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under the Act does not conform with the provisions or spirit of the Act, it may give to the authority a recommendation specifying the steps which ought in its opinion to be taken for promoting such conformity.”
Following recommendations were made to the Public Authorities in the State for promoting conformity with the provisions of the J&K RTI Act,2009 while dealing with the RTI applications and the First Appeals:
To ensure that the number of PIOs is adequate to handle the applications/ request for information and that the PIOs are of appropriate seniority and are well acquainted with their role and responsibilities under the RTI Act, the order reads.
While asking the departments to designate adequate number of APIOs in terms of Section 5(2) of the J&K RTI Act,2009, SIC also enjoined upon the PIOs to provide necessary assistance to the RTI applicants in terms of Section 5(3),Proviso under Section 6 (I)(b), Section 6(2) and to dispose of the applications for information strictly in terms of the relevant provisions of the Act.
The Notification further reads that to enjoin upon the First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) the importance of the 1st Appeal under Section 16 of the RTI Act and to clarify to them their role and responsibility mentioned therein;
The Notification also states that to take necessary steps for conformity under Section 4 for mandatory & suo-moto disclosure of information through catalogues and websites etc; and to set up a separate RTI Counter/ window in each office for which a PIO is appointed for assistance to the applicants in terms of Section 4 and other relevant provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009.