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news details
Govt defies HC direction on RTI Act
7/7/2019 11:04:16 PM
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, July 7: The authorities have failed to comply with the directions of J&K High Court wherein the government was directed to implement J&K Right to Information Act 2009 especially the section 4 and 23 of the act where the government is legally bound to make voluntary disclosure of information and has to create awareness about the law in nook and corner of J&K particularly among disadvantaged communities.
Details available with Early Times reveal that more than six months ago, the High Court had directed the government to strictly adhere to the mandate of J&K Right to Information Act 2009 in letter and spirit. While disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by J&K RTI Movement through its chairman Dr Raja Muzaffar the Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar had directed the government to strictly implement the provisions of J&K RTI Act 2009 especially implementation of section 4 of the act. The division bench order reads as
"We are of the opinion that no useful purpose can be achieved by keeping this Public Interest Litigation pending before this Court. It being so, we dispose of this Public Interest Litigation with a direction to the respondents to strictly adhere to the mandate of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, in letter and spirit, particularly Section 4 of the Act."
"More than 6 months have passed but the government has not implemented the orders of the High Court. We are now mulling to contempt proceedings against the government for disrespecting J&K High Court direction," said Dr Mushtaq Khan, General Secretary of JK RTI Movement.
The court had noted in the order that in the event the petitioner organisation is unsatisfied with any action on the part of the respondents, or any of the government departments, the organisation shall be at liberty to approach the appropriate forum for seeking redress of their grievances.
Petitioner organization J&K RTI Movement, through their advocate Shafkat Nazir had moved a petition before the high court pleading that the respondents may kindly be commanded to pro-actively disclose all available permissible information through official websites and other modes prescribed under law. "The respondents may further be commanded to finalize a working plan for creating awareness about RTI law within the meaning of Section 23," the petition added.
Counsel Shafqat Nazir submitted through the petition that Section 4 of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, made it obligatory and compulsory for all public authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to make suo-motu/pro-active disclosure of all permissible information available with them within a period of 120 days from the date of commencement of the Act.
The counsel submitted that the Act came into force on March 20, 2009, meaning thereby that by July 19, 2009, the public authorities in Jammu and Kashmir were expected to comply with the said provision of law. However, the petition said, almost all the public authorities had failed to satisfy the requirements of the law.
The Additional Advocate General (AAG) had submitted before the court that there shall be no difficulty for the respondents to adhere to the instructions/ directions contained in the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, but even after 6 months the compliance of the order is not seen on the ground.
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