Srinagar-The High Court of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh has directed the Union Territory administration to establish an Right to Information (RTI) portal within a period of 90 days, where the residents can file RTI applications and appeals online.
The directions came on Thursday in response to a public interest litigation filed by Mohammad Tuyyab Malik & Mohammad Khurram Qureshi seeking the court’s direction to the government for developing an online portal for RTI, reports said.
The petitioners, appearing in person, submitted before the Division Bench of the High Court, headed by the Chief Justice, that the residents of J&K are facing extreme difficulties in filing and following up on the applications and appeals filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
According to the petitioners, the reports said, the Central Government has already developed the source codes required to implement the mechanism by the states and is ready to provide the necessary technical support for the same.
Reports said that the petitioners highlighted before the court that one of the important provision i.e. section 7(1) of the RTI Act which states that “information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within 48 hours of the receipt of the request” is not effective under the existing system and it severely affects the life and liberty of citizens.
“The petitioners further highlighted that the applicant is forced to incur extra costs/ fee for printing/ stationery/ transit to and from the post offices etc. This, in comparison to the opportunity cost of submitting the requests for information and the follow-up processes thereof, all at minimal costs if done online through RTI-MIS, which would encourage the applicants to seek information by saving their time and money. The implementation of the same would be in line with the spirit of the transparency laws in general, the RTI Act in particular, as well as the Constitutional mandate,” reports added.
It is to be noted that the online RTI portal will enable the residents to file RTI applications without going through the physical process of posting the applications physically or having to visit the offices to get the desired information. This will facilitate the speedy dispensation of the information sought by the applicants.
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