High Court gives two weeks to government to file response on pending RTI applications

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the government to file response within two weeks to a fresh litigation seeking a decision on the RTI applications and appeals that were pending before the State Information Commission (SIC).
The court while admitting the matter for hearing called response from J&K chief secretary and the law department.
The J&K RTI Act, 2009 was repealed following the enforcement of J&K reorganization Act, 2019 on 31 October, 2019.
The petitioners Mohammad Khurram Qureshi, Abrar Reyaz Sofi and Mohammad Haris Mir while appearing in person before court stated through their petition that by repealing the RTI Act, fate of hundreds of pending RTI applications are lying in oblivion and thereby violating the fundamental rights of the citizens to get the information.
The petitioners being law students as well submitted that the applicants have been left with no forum to approach in order to get their applications addressed while giving reference to Article 19 of the Constitution.
The court was told that 364 cases were pending before SIC when it was abolished.
“These 364 cases comprised of 233 appeals and 131 complaints received by the Commission,” it said.
The petitioners also submitted that if Central Information Commission is to replace the State Information Commission, the government has failed to notify this change, thereby creating uncertainty among the applicants whose applications were pending or who were going to submit the applications before SIC.
Last month, the J&K government had issued an order for constitution of a five member committee to examine the issues related to RTI, Act and the report was directed to be submitted by December 26.
Moreover, the petitioners have sought some relief for delay to the RTI applicants whose statutory time period of 90 days to file second appeal has elapsed due to the abolition of SIC. It was prayed that 120 days be given to decide the second appeals as was provided in the J&K RTI Act.

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