India

Officials at Information Commission misusing official position: Choudhary

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[ June 14, 2017 ] Jammu: Mohd Ayoub Choudhary, President, Anti Corruption Forum (J&K) and social activist addressed the Press Conference. While addressing, he said that J&K State Information Commission was constituted under J&K Right to Information Act 2009 under Act No. (VIII) of 2009 with the objectives of dissemination of information to the residents of the State in the laid down manner. As per the act the State Information Commission shall be headed by Chief Information Commission, and one Commissioner at Jammu and another at Kashmir Division. But it is quite unfortunate that the State Govt. headed by Muhtrama Mehbooba Mufti, Hon’ble Chief Minister of the State is quite bereft of the fact that without Information Commissioner, the public will be deprived of the Information which is the constitutional right of the State subjects.Ayoub Choudhary in his address said that the officials at Information Commission, Jammu under the command of Registrar, State Information Commission, Jammu are misusing the official position merely by issuing Notices to the Appellants and without any purposeful outcome since no State Information Commissioner at Jammu is appointed. Information seekers are misguided and deprived of the information in connivance with the officers/ officials designated as Public Information officer/s FAAS for the reasons best known to the concerned administrative section of the State Information Commission at Jammu.Mr. Mohd Ayoub Choudhary cited an example that copy of a Notice under No. SIC/J/A/109/2017/8246-49 dated 26-05-2017 was served to Appellant / Information Seeker addressed to the FAA (Addl. Dev Commr), Jammu and PIO (Tehsildar) Jammu for appearance before the Hon’ble Chief Information Commissioner along with counterstatement and relevant documents on 13-06-2017. But it was quite unfortunate instead of Hon’ble Chief Information Commissioner, concerned Administrative Officer hold the hearing which is quite absurd. During the hearing FAA was represented by Mr. Khalid Shah, who initially served with the State Information Commission at Jammu and now posted in Dy. Commissioner’s Office, Jammu. Khalid Shah having experience and way out how to deal with the situation tries to deprive the Information seeker of the information with the irrelevant pleading and discussion with the Administrative Officer of the Commission. Whereas, under the norms of the Act no representative either of FAA or PIO are supposed to clear themselves if required information is provided. But in the instant case, Dy. Registrar State Information Commission served the Notice to some other three parties who were not connected in the second Appeal of the Appellant, due to reason life of the Information Seeker / Appellant was at stake since the outsiders tried to eliminate the information seeker which is of a grave concern.While concluding the address to the press, Mr. Mohd Ayoub Choudhary said that the purpose of State Information Commission is useless and meaningless till the both the commissioners at Jammu and at Srinagar are not provided with Commissioner of capability, in otherwise the Administrative Department of the Commission at Jammu will harm the Information Commission, Jammu and particularly the public seeking information since corruption within the administrative Department is indulged in corrupt practices in connivance with the PIO’s who do not want to provide information to the Information Seekers. This menace of corruption within cannot be tolerated within the State Information Commission. In his address he urged and appealed the Hon’ble Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Chief Minister of the State to appoint Information Commissioner at Jammu so that the public of Jammu is not deprived of this constitutional right of seeking information, in otherwise the State Information Commission will become a dead wood for the public.