Govt calls for more steps to realise vision of RTI Act

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday called for more steps in realizing the vision of Right to Information (RTI) Act to “usher in accountability in governance and fuse authority with accountability at all levels.”

“The objective of the Right to Information Act, 2005 is to empower citizens by way of promoting transparency and accountability in the working of the Government and eradicating corruption to make democracy work for the people in real sense,” the government said.

“An informed citizen is well equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable towards the citizens,” it said.

All government agencies come under the purview of the Act, and it contains mechanisms devised on multiple levels to ensure that the legislation is followed in letter and spirit, the government said.

“Post-reorganization, the Right to Information Act, 2005 was made applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a view to empower the citizen as a responsible and active participant in the workings of the Government,” it said, adding, “Although significant strides have been made by the various departments, offices and other agencies of the Government in realizing the vision of the Right to Information Act, 2005, more steps need to be taken to usher in accountability in governance and fuse authority with accountability at all levels.”

The Act casts important obligations on public authorities so as to facilitate the citizens of the country to access the information held under their control, it underlined.

“It is accordingly enjoined upon all public offices to ensure strict adherence to the provisions of the Act ibid, and facilitate speedy dissemination of information to the information seeker. All public offices shall sensitize their CPIOs on the important provisions of the RTI regime viz,” the circular said, adding, “Voluntary Disclosure of information, adherence to the prescribed timelines for disposal of RTI applications, prompt transfer of applications and appropriate disposal of appeals by the appellate authorities.”

Further, it said, all Administrative Secretaries, Heads of Departments and Managing Directors shall conduct fortnightly reviews to ascertain the status of disposal of RTI applications received in their offices and furnish the compliance report in this regard to the General Administration Department.

“These instructions are brought into the notice of all concerned for immediate compliance,” it added.

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