Applicants harassed over RTI fees, timelines not being followed: Shah Faesal

Applicants harassed over RTI fees, timelines not being followed: Shah Faesal
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Says will work to strengthen SAC, SIC

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) president and former bureaucrat Shah Faesal on Thursday said that applicants are harassed in the name of RTI fee and timelines are not being followed adding certain information is being denied without proper reasons.
According to the statement, he stated this on the 10th anniversary on implementations of RTI act in J&K.
“The appellate jurisdiction of the State Information Commission under the RTI Act is not being respected by the subordinate offices,” Faesal said. “There is a lot more which needs to be done when it comes to strengthening the institutions of transparency in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said: “It is irony that even a decade after the enactment of JK RTI Act 2009, the level of mass awareness regarding this act is still dismal. At the same time there is a lot of resistance in the government offices to implement various clauses of this Act. Section 4(a) which deals with the voluntary disclosure of the information has not been implemented as per the spirit of the Act. Too often government officials are resorting to Section 8 and hiding the information.”
Faesal added: “There is an urgent need to ensure that RTI Act is implemented in its true spirit so that there is a regime of transparency and accountability in the State. JKPM as one of its priority intends to implement the act in its letter and spirit and strengthen not only State Information Commission but also State Accountability Commission and give it sue motto powers to deal with the cases of political corruption and the powers to investigate such cases whenever there is a complaint.”
“JKPM will also work towards making these institutions autonomous and putting in proper procedures in place so that appointment of members of State Information Commission and State Accountability Commission is made free from political interference,” he said.