The real movement for right to information in jammu and Kashmir originated from the grass roots level. A mass based organisation called the Jammu and Kashmir RTI foundation took an initiative to lead the people in every region of kashmir to assert their right to information by asking for Non – Government organisations like Jammu and Kashmir Bank substantially financed , directly or indirectly by funds provided by the Government are also to be considered as public Authority and the appointment of vacant posts of state information commission which has badly hit the law . After years of knocking at officials doors and regular meetingswith Government.However the PSU is debatable and we have requested the Honourable Advisor Kursheed Ahmad Ganaiee that the Amendment Bills should be put on the website or may be accessible through linksfrom the website of the Departments to enable the vulnerable segments of society to better understand. The growing demand for a right to public informationon jammu kashmir Bank from various sections of the society , led by civil society organisations in the state could no longer be ignored. The need to enact a law on right to information was recognised and passed unanimously by the Ex chief MinisterUmar Abdullah on March 2009, the Jammu and Kashmir Right to information 2009 is a state law and this will not affect any integrity of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank. Even before the Fol Act was passed by the parliament , several states in India had enacted their own legislations on Freedom of Right to Information .
The fact that some of the states took a lead in enacting right to Information legislations or codes of disclosure of categories of information and the lessons that were learnt from the implementation of these various legislations were indeed helpful.However, progress on the part of public authorities towards effective implementation of the Act in Right earnest , and the Act’s large scale acceptance and use by the people, as an instrument for pressing transparency and accountability of public bodies / officials will be the true indicator of the success of the Act.
The obligations of Jammu and Kashmir Bank under the Act
Record Management section (4) of the Act stipulates that every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed In a manner and the form which facilitates the right to Information under the Act; ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are , within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated.
Proactive Disclosure Of Information
Section 4(1)(b) of the Act provides that every public authority Shall publish within 120 days from the enactment of the Right to Information Act. The particular of its organisation, functions and duties, the power and duties of its officers and employees. The procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability. The norms set by it for the discharging it’s functions, the rules , regulations ,instructions , manuals and records , held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging it’s functions.A statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control, the particular of any arrangement that exists for consultation with , or representation by , the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof.A statement of the boards , councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as it’s part or for the purpose of its advice , and as to whether meetings of those boards , councils ,committees and other bodies are open to the public , or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public .A directory of its officers and employees , the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations. The budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made. The manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes. The particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted, the names, designations and other particulars of the public information officers and such other information as may be prescribed.
The provisions of the Act may necessitate a critical review of the existing record management practices, record retention schedules for different categories of records and systems of indexing the numbering of records in public authorities. They may also call for changes in the framework for record management, especially with regard to the creation and destruction of electronic records.
(The author is Vice chairman and Chief Spokesperson of J&K RTI Foundation. Views are his own)