Former bureaucrat turned politician and working president of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, Dr Shah Faesal on Thursday said that lot more needs to be done to strengthen the institutions of transparency in the state.
In a statement Dr Shah Faesal said, “It is an irony that even a decade after the enactment of JK RTI Act 2009, the level of mass awareness regarding this act is still dismal. At the same time, there is a lot of resistance in the government offices to implement various clauses of this Act. Section 4(a) which deals with the voluntary disclosure of the information has not been implemented as per the spirit of the Act. Too often government officials resort to section 8 and hide the information.
Applicants are harassed in the name of RTI fee and timelines are not also followed. Certain information is being denied without proper reasons. The appellate jurisdiction of the State Information Commission under the RTI Act is not being respected by the subordinate offices.”
Faesal said, “There is an urgent need to ensure that RTI Act is implemented in its true spirit so that there is a regime of transparency and accountability in the state. JKPM as one of its priority items intend to implement the act in its letter and spirit and strengthen not only the State Information Commission but also State Accountability Commission and give it sue motto powers to deal with the cases of political corruption and the powers to investigate such cases whenever there is a complaint.”
He said that JKPM would also work towards making these institutions autonomous and putting in proper procedures in place so that the appointment of members of State Information Commission and State Accountability Commission is made free from political interference.”