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news details
Misusing provision of J&K RTI Law, PIOs not ready to share information
10/21/2018 10:45:13 PM
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Oct 21: Public Information Officers (PIO) in various public authorities continue to violate and misuse the provisions of J&K RTI Act 2009 as they keep transferring applications filed under J&K Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI) to their sub ordinate organizations.
The information which should have been kept available on official websites of the public authorities under section 4 (1) (b) of RTI law is not even provided after information seekers ask for the same through RTI. The PIOs are taking an undue advantage of section 5 (4) and 6 (3) of J&K RTI Act 2009 wherein the government officers are bound to seek assistance of their own colleagues or even transfer the application filed under RTI to another public authority in case they are not in possession of the information which is being sought.
It has become a habit of many PIOs especially those posted in administrative departments (Civil Secretariat), directorates and other similar offices to transfer the RTI application to their respective subordinate organizations.
The subordinate organizations DC offices and directorates further transfer these applications to their district, divisional, block, tehsil and other line departments.
"I sought information from Planning & Development Department about the allocation of funds to various departments, its utilization, funds getting lapsed and reason for such lapses. The Civil Secretariat Planning Department forwarded my application to all the departments and directorates by invoking section 6 (3) of J&K RTI Act 2009. Had Planning & Development Department not been in possession of this information, in that case it was well understandable why my application was forwarded to other organizations, but Planning Department is in possession of all this information," said Dr Raja Muzaffar Chairman RTI Movement.
Dr. Muzaffar said the PIO of this organization in order to play safe forwarded his application to dozens of government organizations and the information is still not completely provided. I had sought details of fund lapses in J&K and that was very much available with Planning & Development Department's office, he said.
As reported already office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) while trying to play safe vis-à-vis revealing information on axing of forest trees for setting up of 440 KV Samba Amargarh transmission line forwarded RTI application to Chief Conservators (CCFs) of Jammu/Kashmir who further forwarded the same to Conservators of various circles.
The information seeker is yet to receive the information as Conservators have further forwarded the RTI application to several Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs). Information seeker wanted details of Forest trees along with number of trees with age, type / species and location that have been axed during the execution of ongoing Inter State Transmission Line under project NRSS XXIX (Jallandhar -Samba -Amargrah Baramulla line).
Only few days back Directorate of School Education Kashmir forwarded an RTI application to 12 Chief Education Officers (CEOs) of Kashmir province wherein details of washroom, electricity, drinking water and boundary walling facilities in government schools was sought from the PIO of Directorate.
"We appeal State Information Commission (SIC) to take a serious notice of this RTI misuse by PIOs and the state Information Commission (SIC) must issue circular directing PIOs to restrain from misusing section 5 (4) and section 6 (3) of J&K RTI Act 2009," said Dr. Muzaffar.
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