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PIL on Pro Active disclosure under RTI Act HC seeks compliance from GAD within 40 days

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Srinagar, Apr 3, CNS: Jammu & Kashmir High Court division bench has sought compliance from Government through  General Administration Department (GAD) by May 15th on Proactive  disclosure of information under section 4 of Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act (JK RTI Act 2009).

While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement through its Founder and Chairman Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat , J&K  High Court Division bench lead by acting Chief Justice S Ramalingam and Justice M K Hanjura directed the Government counsel to file a detailed compliance report about the implementation of section 4 of J&K RTI Act 2009 wherein all the Public Authorities have to make proactive disclosure of information on 17 points. As per the provisions of State RTI Act the said disclosure was to be made within 120 days of enactment of RTI Act in J&K , but the petitioner organization has alleged that even after 9 years of enactment of the J&K RTI Act 2009 , the voluntary disclosure of information is still not being done by most of the Government departments.

The petitioner Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat in his petition prayed before the High Court that  petitioner organization is actively engaged in creating awareness about Right to Information Act , its advocacy and implementation across the State of Jammu & Kashmir besides its members in their individual capacities had remained active in getting the legislation passed by state legislature right from 2005 when Union Parliament enacted RTI law for the citizens of India (RTI Act 2005).

“ State Information Commission (SIC) tried its best to impress upon Government to implement section 4 of J&K RTI Act . The Government hardly cared to adhere to SICs several notices. We as a responsible and organized group were forced to seek intervention of Hon’ble High Court. We appreciate the order of J&K High Court.   The preamble of the J&K RTI Act 2009 lays down an objective of the law in wider and specific terms to the effect that the legislation will promote transparency and accountability in the working of the public authorities in order to ensure good governance in the state, but inspite of 9 years of enactment of this law Government is yet to make disclosure of funding for its welfare schemes , beneficiary list of Govt subsidies ,MLAs CDF details are not available on J&K Assembly website, compensation paid and assessments made  to affected farmers during land acquisition is not made proactively available by Government, policy decisions etc are not made available voluntarily “ said Dr Raja Muzaffar