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PUCL Bulletin, March 2006

Non-compliance with mandatory provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005

Letter to, the Governor, State of Bihar, Raj Bhavan, Patna.

By Surendra Kumar, General Secretary, PUCL Muzaffarpur, 24.10.2005

Sir, On the subject noted above, we have to draw your attention to the blatant violation of mandatory provisions of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (referred to simply as the Act hereafter for brevity). Since you are not only the Head of the State of Bihar but also the head of the Government of Bihar, you are directly responsible for the contempt shown to this central law.

It is specially a matter of concern as you are under oath to uphold the Constitution and also as the Governor the representative of the Union government. We would like to you’re your attention to the following mandatory provisions, which have been violated indicating utter contempt for the law under reference: Section 1 (3) of the Act reads as followings: “The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 4, subsections (1) and (2) of section 5, and sections 12, 13, 15, 16, 24, 27 and 28 Shall come into force at once and the remaining provisions of this Act shall come into force on the one hundred and twentieth day of this enactment (emphasis added). 12th October 2005 was the hundred and twentieth day of this enactment since the Act was assented to by the president on 15.6.2005, but none of the provisions of the Act have been complied with by the Government headed by you.

Under section 4(1) all Public authorities in the state were obliged to compile and publish all information pertaining to them as specified in section 1 (a to d). Similarly, under section 5 (1) and (2) , all public authorities were obliged to designate State Public Information Officers and State Assistant Public Information Officers respectively within one hundred days if the enactment to discharge their duties including receiving application for information and giving information in response. Under section 15 of the Act, you were under a legal obligation to form State Information Commission by October 12, 2005. Again under section 27of the Act, you were obliged to frame rules to carry out the provision of this act and notify them in the Gazette. Unfortunately, this central Act has been completely ignored, its mandatory provisions completely defied and utter contempt shown to the rule of law and the interest of the people of Bihar.

It is pertinent to draw your attention to the objective of this Act as mentioned in the preamble of the Act itself as is quoted below. “Whereas the Constitution of India has established democratic republic: And whereas democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed… Now, therefore, it is expedient to provide for furnishing certain information to citizens who desire to have it.” In the light of what has been stated above, we urge you to comply with the provisions of the Act and do your duty to the Constitution and the people of Bihar who have been groaning under a Government run amuck and rampant corruption.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014