‘Will act against officials found guilty of denying information’
SRINAGAR: JK’s Chief Information Commissioner, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, Tuesday exhorted the officers of the State Government to expedite the disposal of RTI applications as per the provisions of J&K RTI Act 2009 in order to restore the confidence of public in the efficacy of the legislation.
“In many complaints that have been received by the Commission, the Public Information Officers (PIOs) have not disposed of the RTI applications within the stipulated time as prescribed under Section 7(1) of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 which defeats the very purpose of the legislation,” he said.
“It has also been observed in many 2nd appeals that the designated First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) have not disposed of the First Appeals in the manner as stipulated under the Act and have not even passed formal orders as prescribed, which should not happen,” he said.
Ganai said the Commission as well as the State Government has passed many orders and circulars to impress upon all the Heads of the Public Authorities placed under their charge and the PIOs and FAAs to follow the regulations laid down in the RTI Act to take necessary steps for timely and appropriate disposal of appeals and RTI applications in terms of the provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009.
“Section 17 of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 vests power in the State Information Commission to impose penalty on or recommend disciplinary action against the erring PIO where the State Information Commission at the time of deciding any complaint, appeal or reference is of the opinion that the PIO has, without any reasonable cause refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7,” he said.
Ganai said the Commission has recommended all the Deputy Commissioners, Heads of Departments and Administrative Secretaries in the State Government to dispose of RTI applications as per the provisions laid down in the RTI Act, 2009.
“The General Administration Department (GAD) has also issued various circular instructions recently for effective implementation of the J&K RTI Act to secure conformity of all the Public Authorities in the State Government with the provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 and in terms of powers vested under Section 22(5) of the Act,” he said.
The CIC said the government will act against officers who are found to have denied the request for information with malafide intention or knowingly denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information.