Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Right To Information Movement has demanded that State Information Commission (SIC) be constituted in J-K as RTI appellants were facing immense difficulties in filing 2nd appeals under RTI Act 2005 before Central Information Commission (CIC) New Delhi
Activists of the RTI Movement assembled in the City center Srinagar on Monday. Chairman RTI Movement Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat told media persons that after applicability of Central RTI Act 2005 in J-K people were feeling disempowered as there is no appeal mechanism available in J-K and people have to file appeal in New Delhi which is a hectic task especially for illiterate people and disadvantaged communities.
“After extending RTI Act 2005 to J-K, we got deprived of the State Information Commission (SIC) like many other commissions , as Union Territories (UT’s) are not entitled to have a separate Information Commission. 2nd appeals under RTI Act 2005 are now filed before the 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 one 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.” Dr Raja Muzaffar said while speaking to press reporters.
Mr. 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 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