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news details
Govt clueless over laws governing Assembly suspension: Harsh
Law Deptt evades reply to RTI over prolongation of suspended Assembly
10/16/2018 9:57:58 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Oct 16: Describing the prolonged suspension of J&K Assembly as illegal and unconstitutional, Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister today lambasted the state law Deptt for evading reply to an RTI application on questions of law seeking information on provisions, rulings or precedents that allowed suspension of Assembly for indefinite period.
He divulged that he had made an RTI application to the Governor's Secretariat seeking information on laws which permitted indefinite suspension of Assembly which was transferred by Raj Bhawan to State Law Deptt for reply. He said that the Raj Bhawan vide its letter GS-3 (RTI-Act) VIII/2018/364-365 dated September 14, 2018 asked the law, justice and Parliamentary affairs Deptt to provide the reply to the RTI application stating further that the requisite fee under the Act had been retained in the Governor's Secretariat. He said that refusal to reply by the law Deptt was not only violative of RTI Act but indicative of complete intellectual bankruptcy of the govt which seemed to be clueless over the laws governing the suspension of Assembly. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
Elaborating his point, Harsh Dev Singh said that he had filed a 21 point RTI application with the Governor in August, 2018 which was entertained by the latter with directions to law Deptt to reply to 6 points involving questions of law and 15 points transferred to Planning Deptt for reply on questions of fact. He regretted that while the planning Deptt altogether ignored the RTI so transferred by Raj Bhawan and failing to reply within the period stipulated under law, the Deptt of law evaded the reply by taking the frivolous stand that the questions raised in RTI fell beyond the purview of Right to Information Act. He said that indefinite suspension of Assembly being bad in law, the law Deptt evaded the reply by resorting to lame excuses. It was a kind of 'catch 22' situation for the govt where the law Deptt found itself caught between the devil and deep sea, said Singh.
Not only that, disclosed Singh, the law Deptt refused to state the law under which the MLAs of suspended Assembly were allowed to discharge the functions of regular assembly members including operation of state finances, use of CDF, withdrawal of full salary with all allowances besides concurrent exercise of powers by Governor and the MLAs.
Castigating the law Deptt for failing to reply to any of the six questions raised in the RTI application, Singh said that the Govt had indirectly admitted that the indefinite suspension of Assembly had no legal sanction and hence was violative of the legal provisions over the subject.
Assailing further the central govt for keeping the Assembly in suspended Animation for the last 4 Months in circumvention of the legal stipulations and principles of democracy, Singh said that disrespect for rule of law was the prime reason for growing alienation and instability in the state. Not only were the legal provisions ruthlessly trampled upon by vested interests but the transparency law was also being blatantly defied with none to take cognizance, regretted Harsh Dev Singh. Rajesh Padgotra, Manju Singh, Capt. Anil Gour, Rajiv Mahajan and Gagan Pratap Singh were also present in the press conference.
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