STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Justice (Retd) J.P Singh, Member State Accountability Commission on Saturday once again attempted to ignite a fresh debate over the issue of war against corruption as it is losing sheen in Jammu and Kashmir.
Giving vent to his ire Justice Singh said the State government lacked will to check the rampant corruption and punish the guilty.
He said in the name of staff only one stenographer has been made available by the State government to two High Court Judges to carry on their fight against corruption.
“We don’t have independent investigation wing to probe the complaints of corruption and it is evident that the successive state governments were not keen on strengthening the anti-graft body”, he added.
He also took liberties and complained to the Governor N.N Vohra that even he failed to support the anti-graft body in its war against corruption.
Justice (Retd) J.P Singh was speaking during the Regional Conference on RTI which was earlier inaugurated by Governor N.N Vohra here at Hotel Ashok.
The Conference was organised by the Institute of Management and Public Administration & Rural Development (IMPA & RD), J&K, in collaboration with the State Information Commission (SIC), J&K.
G.R Sufi, Chief Information Commissioner, J&K; Bhim Sen, CIC, Himachal Pradesh; Wajahat Haibullah, former CIC India; Nazir Ahmed, State Information Commissioner, J&K; B.R. Sharma, Chief Secretary and Dr. Arun Kumar, DG, IMPA & RD, J&K were among those who were present on the occasion.
The Governor expressed gratification that despite initial difficulties the RTI Act has taken deep roots in the country. However, he observed, a good deal of work is still required to be done for ensuring that this statute is put to meaningful use to promote transparency and accountability and visibly reducing corruption. In this context he pointed to the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders are made aware of their rights and encouraged to make judicious use of the RTI Act to promote the larger public interest.
The Governor said that he had the opportunity of closely observing the evolution of the acceptance of this law in J&K and complimented the Chief Information Commissioner J&K, for stabilizing the functioning of the State Information Commission despite the difficulties faced in the initial period.
The Governor noted that for the effective functioning of the RTI Act considerable improvement shall need to be brought about in the maintenance of records in the public offices and to replace the traditional secrecy with openness, and transparency except in matters which need to remain undisclosed in the national interest. He observed that we may see considerable reduction in the number of RTI applications which are being received by the public authorities if Section 4 of RTI Act is implemented and the public authorities suo moto disclose information by putting up the same on their websites.
The Governor observed that RTI Act has been strengthened through various Supreme Court rulings lending it a constitutional status and this has further strengthened and made possible the success of steps taken for ensuring transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and for promoting and propagating the culture of accessing information held by them as a matter of the right of the common citizen.
The Governor said that today’s Regional Conference is another step towards creating awareness amongst all stakeholders, Government functionaries and the public at large. He wished the participants success in their deliberations and hoped that many sound suggestions will emerge from the deliberations.
G.R. Sufi. Chief Information Commissioner, SIC, J&K presented Welcome Address and spoke about the functioning of the SIC in the State; Prof. Sunita Zalpuri, Faculty of Social Sciences, IMPA & RD, Jammu briefed the participants about the agenda of the conference while Dr. Jahan Ara Jabeen, Associate Professor, IMPA &RD, Srinagar presented the vote of thanks.
Among those present were many eminent persons and social activists associated with the RTI.
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