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RTI reply contradicts J&K govt’s claim
`SIC/CIC only asked for fee reduction, Registrar’s post’

JAMMU, Sept 15: J&K State Information Commission or the Chief Information Commissioner of J&K had never asked the state government to dilute the RTI Rules as was done by the latter vide SRO no 279 issued on August 30, 2012.

Puncturing the earlier claims of the state government passing the buck to J&K CIC/SIC for amendment in the `RTI rules regime’, this startling fact has come to the fore, in reply to an RTI application filed by an activist Raman Sharma.

The information was provided in the Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission documents including the CIC’s DO Letter (no. PS/CIC/13/11 dated May 12, 2011) addressed to the Chief Minister and Secretary’s letter (no SIC/CO/Adm/18/2012/502 dated 17/04/2012) to GAD.

These documents RTI activist Raman Sharma received in response to his RTI application filed on September 5, 2012. The Commission’s documents revealed that it (Commission) had made some recommendations for amendments in RTI rules to the government through Secretary GAD.

Notably these recommendations had nothing to do with the amendments made by the state government to water down the existing rules.

The DO letter dated 12/05/2011 written by the CIC to Chief Minister was just a courtesy letter where the former had thanked the latter for his government’s support and apprised the Chief Minister about the total number of appeals and complaints received by it. In the same letter, he had made a request to remove the disparity between the fees structure in Central RTI Act and JK RTI Act.

Even the minutes of the meeting of J&K SIC held on January 9, 2012 sought by RTI activist revealed that the Commission had sought certain amendments only with regard to the post of Registrar, appointment of Secretary seeking modifications in Rule 2(I), Rule 2(3), Rule 2(m), Rule(3), Rule 7, Rule 9, Rule 10 and Rule 36(3) of the J&K RTI Rules, 2010.

The Commission’s objective to seek these amendments aimed at making the positions of Registrar, Secretary “compatible and harmonious with the sanctioned posts and work distribution in the Commission.”

Raman requested the Chief Minister to find out the bureaucrats, who, he said, are “misguiding him and his government.”

The government had issued a statement defending its move to amendment in RTI rules on September 4, 2012 and had also referred to the letter

of State Chief Information Commissioner to the Chief Minister and letter of Commission No. SIC/Co/Adm/18/2012/502 dated 17.04.2012 proposing “modifications in Rule 2(I), Rule 2(3), Rule 2(m), Rule(3), Rule 7, Rule 9, Rule 10 and Rule 36(3) of the J&K RTI Rules, 2010.

The government spokesman had defended amendment stating that “consequent upon this a thorough exercise was conducted by the General Administration Department and it was felt that some provisions of the RTI Rules-2010 go beyond the mandate of the RTI Act, 2009 as the said Act neither provides such powers to the Commission nor the Central RTI Rules envisage such powers to the Central Information Commission.”

News Updated at : Sunday, September 16, 2012
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