Coalition Govt hell bent to kill transparency law: Harsh
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Concerned over the fast collapsing RTI apparatus in the State, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) staged a massive protest against the RTI Act being sabotaged in the State.
A strong contingent of Panthers Party activists spearheaded by Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and Yash Paul Kundal State President Young Panthers assembled at Exhibition Ground here on Saturday and raised anti government slogans.
Harsh, while addressing the media, squarely held the BJP-PDP responsible for making the progressive RTI Act in the state almost defunct. He divulged that out of the three members of state Information Commission (SIC) two including CIC had retired months back and the lone Information Commissioner was due to retire this month but the government had remained apathetic to initiate any process for reconstitution of the said SIC. He said that SIC in doldrums further added to the confusion, as a single Information Commissioner for the entire state with no signs of his replacement had only made a contemptuous mockery of the SIC. He said that the government apart from paying no heed to the structural shortcomings in the Act and its execution had also allowed vested interests and regressive elements to defeat the purpose and essence of the very strong law against the varied malpractices. He said that the common masses including aggrieved and disadvantaged sections had pinned high hopes with the enactment of the RTI Act which had been based on the objective of transforming conventional electoral democracy into participative democracy. He added that the people expected that the time bound provision of information under the Act would not only ensure accountability but also curb corruption and other malpractices. Singh further regretted utter lack of accountability in the present dispensation and attributed the extremely in-effective RTI mechanism in the State for breeding patronized corruption and other vices. He revealed that it had become a routine affair where the higher authorities and Administrative department had been forwarding the RTI applications to hundreds of their subordinates merely to create confusion and abdicate their responsibility to provide the information. He said that vague and absurd replies were being given in several others cases only to evade, avoid and conceal the information. Moreover, he said, the senior officers often sheltered their subordinates despite proven instances of violation of the Act.
Inculpating the present government for sabotaging the Act, Kundal said that the ministers and MLAs particularly those of BJP were in notion that while transparency was good for others, they should be left free and unquestioned. He said that the BJP’s resistance to RTI Act came to fore when one of the BJP MLAs moved a bill in the Assembly for the amendment of J&K RTI Act and alleged misuse of the Act by the so called “unscrupulous elements”. He disclosed that the mover of the said Bill was the same MLA who called himself RTI activist before becoming MLA. Among those who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Padgotra, Naresh Chib, Shankar Singh, Purshotam Parihar, Khajoor Singh, K.K Sharma, Nirmal Kishore, Udheyveer, Narinder Sharma and Vishav Singh.