RTI Law in Indian State Not Implemented, Critics Say

25 March 2015

The six-year old right to information law in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir is not being fully implemented, according to reports on the anniversary of the law.

“Six years since the landmark legislation Right to Information Act was implemented in the state, the government itself has failed to adhere to the guidelines of law on voluntary disclosure of information,” according to an article by Sofi Ahsan in Kashn]mis Monitor.

Ahsan continued:

Ironically, when one would at least expect the institutions of justice and legislation to comply with the law, both the legislatures – Assembly and Council, and the High Court have also failed to make voluntary disclosure under various sub-sections of Section 4 (1) of the Act.

Despite the recent rebuke from the Governor N N Vohra on the administrative failure to implement the provisions of the act, over a dozen government departments have failed to disclose information as determined by the law.

The article concluded, “The J&K RTI Act will complete six years this week but the failure to implement some of its major provisions is a question mark over the administrative willingness to comply with its own laws.”

Another article, by Raja Muzaffar Bhat, in Greater Kashmir, also says expectations have yet to be fulfilled and advises “a massive awareness campaign on RTI.”

A Northlines news story about an anniversary event quotes Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Chairman J&K RTI Movement and co-convener NCPRI.

Rasool said:

We want State government to implement section 23 which deals with awareness among people by the Government. So far government has failed in implementing Sec 4 and 23, which shows how much sincere the state government is in implementation of RTI law in the state, our State is most corrupt hence laws like RTI will help in eradicating this menace.

He also said the government has failed to implement Section 4 (a) proactive disclosure, which is considered to be the soul of RTI Act.

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