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Applicants facing hurdles, no Second Appellate Authority so far
RTI Act in limbo in new UT of JK
11/14/2019 11:03:50 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Nov 14: The Right to Information (RTI) Act in the newly created Union Territory (UT) is in limbo since the conversion of state as the government is yet to designate the Public Information Officers in various departments.
Due to such an obscure situation, the applicants have been facing hurdles as the earlier designated PIOs have been refusing the provide information as well as disposing off the appeals, while the Second Appellate Authority is yet to be designated by the government.
Sources informed Early Times that since the conversion of state to Union Territory on October 31, the Jammu and Kashmir RTI Act of 2009 ceased to exist as it came into being under the Jammu and Kashmir constitution, which also ceased to exist.
"After October 31, now the Central Information Act is to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir but a formal notification is mandatory to be issued by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, which is still awaited", sources said, adding that either the state government would embrace the rules of the Central RTI Act or frame its own rules.
Sources further said that after issuance of a formal notification, the new rules governing the RTI Act in Jammu and Kashmir would come into force and the new Public Information Officers would be designated in all the government departments as well as other public sector undertaking.
RTI activist Raman Sharma said that so far no formal notification has been issued by government with regard to the RTI Act and presently the RTI Act was in limbo. "Due to technical issues, it is still unclear as who will respond to the 2nd appeals already made by the applicants as the Information Commission in JK ceased to exist", Sharma said, adding that common citizens have not been getting the desired information.
Secretary of Law department Anchal Sethi said that it was already mentioned in the JK Reorganization Act 2019 and the Gazette issued by Union, the Central RTI Act has deemed to implement in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the question of designating the new PIOs, Law Secretary said that it was also mentioned that the earlier designated PIOs would deemed to be designated as PIOs under new Act. On the question of Second Appeal, Law Secretary said that the issue was yet to be decided by the government.
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