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news details
Now SMC hires lawyers for RTI cases
1/29/2019 11:01:29 PM

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Jan 29: In an exceptional development, Secretary of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) who is also the designated Public Information Officer (PIO) has hired a lawyer to defend a Right to Information (RTI) case. The lawyer who is also the standing counsel of SMC recently appeared before the State Information Commission (SIC) during a case hearing. Legal experts and RTI campaigners on the other hand have appealed SIC to discourage such a move as there is no scope of hiring of lawyers by a PIO.
Details available with Early Times reveal that an RTI application dated 06- 07-2018 was filed by one Nazir Ahmad Najar R/O Manzgam Brein seeking some information from PIO/Secretary, SMC, Srinagar on ten points.
The PIO furnished information to the appellant vide his communication dated 03-08- 2018. However, the appellant filed first appeal before the First Appellate Authority, Commissioner SMC on 13-08-2018 submitting that complete information has not been furnished to him. After 1st appeal PIO, SMC vide his communications dated 18-09-2018, 22-09-2018 and 24-09-2018 furnished additional information to the appellant. However, the appellant filed the second appeal before the State Information Commission (SIC) on 10-11- 2018 submitting thereunder that the information furnished was inadequate/incorrect.
The appeal came up for hearing before the Commission on 16-01-2019. Appellant was present. The PIO was represented by Standing Counsel of SMC Advocate Hilal Ahmad. The counsel for the PIO submitted that complete information has been furnished to the appellant. The appellant acknowledged that information has been furnished. However, the said information was deficient in so far as response to point No. 6 of the RTI application was concerned.
While commenting on appearance of standing counsel of SMC before the SIC , Syed Nasarullah a legal expert and RTI activist said that Information Commissioner must discourage hiring of lawyers by PIOs.
"The PIO is supposed to be a qualified officer and if he or she cannot defend RTI Act that it is highly shameful PIO is a designated officer and there is no scope of lawyers to be hired by PIOs " he said.
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