The Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted a five member committee to take a call on Right to Information (RTI) Act after it stands revoked following conversion of the state into the Union Territory (UT).
The committee would examine whether the Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir would come under the purview of Central Information Commission or a separate Commission has to be constituted for the region.
The committee would be headed Administrative Secretary of General Administrative Department (GAD) and will have four members from Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, representative of the Finance Department not below the rank of additional secretary to the government, additional secretary to government GAD , while the last may be co-opted by the Chairman of the committee.
The committee would spell out the actions required to be taken like re-designation of public information officers and other functionaries under the Act, in case of the UT of Jammu Kashmir comes under Central Information Commission.
After the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu Kashmir, JK RTI Act stands revoked.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which was accorded special status under Article 370, had the option of voting through its own Legislative Assembly to adopt the Act or simply to ignore it altogether.
J&K chose to finally implement the RTI Act 2009, which is close on the lines of the Central RTI Act 2009, until then, the J&K state RTI Act 2004 and J&K RTI (Amendment) Act, 2008, were in use. Now that both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are legally UTs, they would have to come under the Central RTI Act 2005.
As per the state commission’s record there were around 400 RTI appeals pending before JK Information Commission in March this year.
However, a Union Territory has no right to appoint Information Commissioners, so the J&K state Information Commission is automatically abolished.
Meanwhile, the committee shall be serviced by the GAD and it shall submit report by 26 December.