Syed Ali Shah:
QUETTA: Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Thursday issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Secretary Information about the continued delay in the formation of the Information Commission in the province. A division bench of the BHC comprising Mr. Justice Hashim Khan Kakar and Mr. Justice Muhammad Amir Rana directed for issuance of notices on a constitutional petition.
Senior lawyers including Azmatullah Achakzai Advocate and Abdul Jabbar Badezai Advocate had filed a petition seeking the directives of the court for the establishment of the information commission in the province.
Every citizen has the right to get official information under article 19 of the Constitution
Every citizen under article 19 of the Constitution has the right to get information about government departments, the petitioners mentioned. They said that despite the passage of the Right to Information Act from the Balochistan Assembly, the provincial government is yet to form a commission. The provincial assembly adopted the RTI act 2021 in February last year.
The bench directed the concerned quarters to appear before the court on November 29th.
Under the Balochistan RTI Act, 2021, provincial departments are bound to provide the requested information within 15 working days. Section 18 of the Act, stipulates the Balochistan Information Commission shall establish within 120 days of the commencement of the Act.
Balochistan Assembly is neither responding nor providing any information to the activist Syed Raza Ali
An RTI activist, Syed Raza Ali, filed information requests to the Secretary, the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, the Principal Secretary to CM Balochistan, and the Inspector General of Balochistan Police. Despite the passage of the prescribed time period, neither a single department provided the information nor responded to the information requests, says Syed Raza Ali.
He further added, unfortunately, the Provincial Assembly itself not complying with the law passed by it. Without an independent Commission, the Act is toothless. It is very unfortunate, that the provincial bureaucracy seems reluctant to give citizens’ right to information to their owners due to deep-rooted secrecy and a colonial mindset.