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Despite HC disposing off PIL on RTI, Govt fails to create awareness
3/14/2019 11:35:30 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Mar 14: Inspite of the fact that High Court disposed off the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on implementation of several sections of Right to Information Act (RTI) especially about creating awareness , Government is yet to start a campaign on training Government officials and citizens about the State RTI Act as mandated under section 23.
Details available with Early Times reveal that several months back JK High Court disposed off a PIL filed by Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement wherein it was prayed that Government is not creating awareness about the RTI law among officials of state Government and citizens. The High Court disposed off the petition with the direction to Government to implement section 23 of J&K RTI Act 2009 wherein it is legal obligation upon the Government to create the awareness about RTI law.
As reported already, Public Information Officer (PIO) in the office of Deputy Commissioner Rajouri had provided misleading details about the number of workshops and seminars held in the district on Right to Information Act (RTI). Information seeker had filed application to know the number of such workshops and its location along with copies of photos and video clips but the PIO who is also Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) had failed to respond to the RTI applicant for many months. Few months back when the PIO responded the answer provided by PIO was allegedly misleading and incorrect. The PIO told in its reply that no photos and videos of RTI workshops and seminars were available. The Additional DC Rajouri had told High Court that 617 RTI training workshops were conducted in district during last several years but when the exact details were sought under RTI the PIO (ADC) had provided all the misleading information.
The offices of Deputy Commissioners of almost all the districts had been caught on the wrong foot as no official record is maintained vis a vis workshops / seminars that were conducted on Right to Information Act (RTI) since the law came into force in J&K around 10 years back. The DC offices have been found to be submitting vague and misleading information before the High Court (HC) where a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled J&K RTI Movement V/S J&K State was filed early this year.
The DC office Budgam through Additional DC submitted a response before High Court of J&K through GAD vide office communication dated 14.05.2018. The office has only submitted details of RTI workshops / awareness camps held for PIOs and other officers from 2017 on-wards while as no information has been provided pre 2017 . In addition to it no details had been provided about awareness camps held for general public especially those hailing from disadvantaged communities which is a legal obligation on Govt as per section 23 of J&K RTIAct 2009.
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