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     January  13,  2016



CGPA Demands Amendments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act, 2013

Chitral Times Repot

Peshawar: Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) has demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to amend Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2013 for effective implementation of the law. These amendments suggested are: including Peshawar High Court in the ambit of the law, making Peshawar High Court as appeal court against the decisions of the KP information commission, mandatory appointments of information commissioners once the incumbents retires or resigns, and lastly empowering information commission to ensure proactive disclosure by public bodies.

CGPA in a press statement noted that KP Right to Information law was one of its kinds, and stood amongst one of the best laws in the world when it was enacted. However, the recent amendments made the law less effective. Now, the information commission has to register its decisions concerning penalties of Public Information Officers with district and sessions courts. CGPA demanded that decisions of the information commission should only be challenged through writ petition in Peshawar High Court, as RTI is a fundamental right under the constitution of Pakistan.

The law should also provide for how to implement the information commissionís decision. There are many cases in which the information commission has fined the violators. However, no one is clear how the fine will be collected. More importantly, the law should also provide space for information commission to take action against those who donít follow information commissionís orders, even after been penalized one time.

CGPA further demanded that there should be time bound mechanism for appointments of the new information commissioners. The law in its current form does not bind the government to appoint new information commissioner, within specified time, when the incumbent information commissioners complete the tenure.

Furthermore, CGPA also demanded that the RTI law should be extended to Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). The request sent by the KP home and tribal affairs department for extending RTI law to PATA has been waiting for Presidentsí approval for more than one year. It is tantamount to violation of the fundamental rights of citizens in PATA.

Moreover, Rules of business under the law should immediately be notified. The rules, which should have been notified immediately after the enactment of law has taken so much time, and are still awaited. KP government should notify rules of business as soon as possible so that all the respective departments could handle information requests in proper and timely manner.


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