The District Administration has extended an invitation to J&K RTI Movement and Commonwealth Human Rights (CHRI), New Delhi to provide technical assistance to the public authorities to make Kupwara a model district for implementing the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009 (J&K RTI Act).
J&K RTIM and CHRI are already working with stakeholders in Kulgam to make it a model RTI district in response to a similar invitation extended by Shri M Y Tarigami, MLA, Kulgam.
In his opening remarks at the one-day training workshop on the J&K RTI Act, organised at Kupwara on Thursday, 02 March, 2017, Hafeez Ahmed Shah, Additional Deputy Commissioner admitted that the bureaucratic attitude of the public authorities was partly responsible for the inadequacies in the implementation of this people-empowering law.
He also pointed out that some citizens and ‘activists’ in Kupwara were using the RTI Act to intimidate officers which was unfortunately showing genuine RTI activists promoting the public interest, in poor light.
He called upon the more than 70 PIOs and appellate authorities attending the workshop, to not act as an impediment in giving effect to people right to know what the government was doing. He urged them to work in a sensitive manner to make RTI implementation a big success in the district. He suggested that civil society activists work with the district administration to ensure the effective implementation of various developmental programmes and schemes through the constructive use of RTI.
The training workshop was organised by the district administration in collaboration with Jan Shikshan Sansthan (Anhad) – JSS Kupwara, J&K RTI Movement and CHRI. Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Chairperson, J&K RTI Movement and Co-Convenor, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCRPI), explained the key provisions of the J&K RTI Act to the participants placing special emphasis on the requirement of proactive disclosure of information to the people. He pointed out that volunteers of the J&K RTIM have always endeavoured to use RTI in a constructive manner.
Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator, CHRI and Co-Convenor, NCPRI shared the latest developments in RTI related case law from the Supreme Court and various High Courts across the country while responding to the queries raised by PIOs about the challenges they faced in implementing the J&K RTI Act in letter and spirit.
Faisal Peerzada, RTI activist Kupwara welcomed the participants. Rafaqat Idris, Director-in-charge, JSS, Kupwara delivered the vote of thanks.