Delay in replies ‘routine’ for RTI applicants in Kashmir

Delay in replies ‘routine’ for RTI applicants in Kashmir
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Srinagar: The Right to Information Act (RTI) is not taken strictly by authorities in Jammu and Kashmir due to which people have to wait many months for a reply.
Experts say the Act is not implemented the way it was designed to be implemented. Information seeker are supposed to get their reply within a 30 days from the date of receipt of RTI application, and can wait for 10 more days considering work load.
An official of the State Information Commission (SIC) said that since June 28, there is no one to hear complaints of information seekers at the commission, making it more difficult for them. Hence, it takes much more time to get a reply from authorities.
At an event held to observe RTI day at the University of Kashmir recently, former Commissioner, SIC, Mohammad Ashraf Mir discussed various weaknesses in the process.
“The public information officers (PIOs) in government departments are still not well versed with the work, resulting into denial of information to applicants,” said Mir.
The information sought under the act is not being used in the manner it was supposed to. There is a lack of awareness among citizens who want to use RTI to get the required information, he said.
“Social activists or those who know about the RTI must aware people, people are not fully aware about this,” he said.
Another major problem leading to delay in replies is the poor record keeping in government department.
The poor digitization of records in government departments acts like a stonewall for dissemination of information.