Right to information: Six months on, Punjab yet to implement law

Punjab government continues dragging its feet on the implementation of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, which was enacted by Punjab Assembly on December 16 last year, says a press release by Coalition on Right to Information (CRTI).

Though information commissioners have been appointed, no budget has been allocated for Punjab Information Commission which shows lack of seriousness of the provincial government in implementing the legislation, it said.

Soon after the law was enacted, civil society groups, journalists and people started filing information requests to public bodies under the law.

In majority of the cases that have come to the knowledge of coalition, public bodies have failed to provide requested information to civil society groups, people and journalists.

However, complaints could not be filed to Punjab Information Commission because it does not have formal address and office.

At the same time, public bodies have not notified designation of public information officers who are responsible for not only providing requested information to citizens but are also tasked under the law with proactively disclosing information to citizens through various means like putting information on web sites of the public bodies.

The coalition has urged the Punjab government to allocate budget for Punjab Information Commission to ensure its administrative and financial autonomy on urgent basis so that it could start performing functions envisioned in the law.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2014.

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