Daily Excelsior: Jammu: Friday, March 10, 2017.
With the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), the State Information Commission (SIC) has started hearing appeals and complaints.
“The State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Khurshid Ahmed Ganai has already heard about 15 appeals and complaints in which RTI information seekers and the respondent Public Information Officers (PIOs) were given proper hearing,” a statement issued by SIC spokesperson said. It said some appeals have even been disposed of after the hearings.
The statement said that during the course of hearings CIC has repeatedly emphasized on quick response by the PIOs and the First Appellate Authority (FAA) in the Public Authorities so that the information is provided within the stipulated period as laid down in the J&K RTI Act, 2009.
“The CIC has also given clear instructions that summoning senior officers should not be resorted to unless it is absolutely unavoidable under the law and that only the PIOs and the FAA may be summoned to represent themselves personally or through an authorized representative,” it said, adding that the CIC clarified that the Commission has the authority to impose penalties but has no authority to initiate disciplinary action against the PIOs.
“However, the Commission can recommend disciplinary action under Section 17(2) of the RTI Act in case of the PIOs for dereliction of duty and non compliance,” it said, adding the CIC hoped that the designated PIOs and the FAA within all Public Authorities will follow the procedure laid down under the Act and the Rules to facilitate the information seekers and to reduce the incidence of 2nd appeal to the Commission.
While addressing the officers and officials of the State Commission, the CIC exhorted upon them to work with dedication to redress the grievances of the complainants and the appellants. The officials assured the CIC of their full cooperation.