Seminar on J&K RTI Act organized in Srinagar

Former CIC India Wajahat Habibullah chairs seminar; calls for pro-active disclosure of information by public offices

SRINAGAR, MAY 12:  Former Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, and Chairperson CHRI, Wajahat Habibullah, today chaired a seminar on the implementation of the J&K Right to Information Act 2019 at DC Office Srinagar.

The seminar was attended by senior officers from all 40 line departments besides other heads of departments of the district.

The aim of the seminar was to sensitize the officers of the district administration about the RTI act and the importance of it taking a proper footing in public offices. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, also present on the occasion, said a transparent and accountable administration in the district is his main aim and the implementation of this act amongst his focus agendas.

The former CIC spoke on the importance of pro-active and reactive information disclosure in the system and said that it promotes transparent functioning and gives rise to accountable administration.

He said that cleanliness in the functioning of public authorities strengthens the trust between the administration and the people, and that this law leads towards that direction. He highlighted the importance of proper maintenance of records in public offices for the effective functioning of this statute.

Habibullah said PIOs are chief officials in this entire exercise and that there must be no hesitation or inhibition in seeking the required details from their department heads who are obliged to provide the information sought.

He urged the DC to instruct the heads of departments in the district to make all the public interest information about their departments and their work, including details about the utilization of allocated funds available in the public domain on their websites.

The seminar also included an open discussion session during which PIOs sought clarifications about the kind of information that can be provided against an RTI application, particularly with regard to those applications which seek private information of individuals.

Several questions were answered in the light of Supreme Court and other Court Judgments thus helping clear a whole range of confusions.

Speaking towards the end of the seminar, the DC said that as the head of the district administration it would be amongst his main goals to make Srinagar a model district as far as implementation of the RTI Act is concerned.

The seminar was organized by J&K RTI Movement in collaboration with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Saturday at DC Office Srinagar.