Srinagar, Sep 28 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir RTI Movement on Monday demanded that State Information Commission (SIC) be constituted as RTI appellants were facing immense difficulties in filing 2nd appeals under RTI Act 2005 before the Central Information Commission (CIC) New Delhi.
Activists of the RTI Movement assembled in Srinagar’s City centre on Monday on the occasion of International Information Access Day.
Chairman RTI Movement, Raja Muzaffar Bhat told mediapersons that after applicability of the Central RTI Act 2005 in J&K, people are feeling disempowered as there is no appeal mechanism available and people have to file appeals in New Delhi which is a hectic and cumbersome task especially for illiterate people and disadvantaged communities.
“After extending the RTI Act 2005 to J&K, we got deprived of the State Information Commission (SIC) like many other commissions, as Union Territories (UTs) are not entitled to have a separate Information Commission.
“Second appeals under RTI Act 2005 are now filed before th Central Information Commission (CIC) New Delhi. All the pending appeals in J&K State Information Commission (JKSIC) have been transferred to CIC New Delhi, but in the last 1 year not even a single appeal filed by members of RTI Movement members has been listed for hearing, this was not the case in past.
“Aggrieved would get justice from JKSIC within a few months only as the state commission was supposed to dispose of RTI appeals within 60 to 120 days only”.
Muzaffar said that the 2015 Modi Government launched Digital India campaign with an aim to ensure the Government’s services are made available to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure.
“During the last 6 months people have had less access to Govt offices in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This was the best time to receive RTI applications through electronic mode and provide reply through email, but the J&K Government has miserably failed to create an effective digital interface vis a vis Right to Information Act (RTI)”, he added.