HP Govt. depts not following ‘suo motu disclosure’ directions under RTI Act, official websites not updated since ages
In Himachal Pradesh public authorities are least bothered about Suo Motu disclosure. Most of the official websites of HP government departments, boards and corporations of Government of Himachal Pradesh are not updated from ages.
SHIMLA- Right to Information (RTI) act came into existence in 2005. It was also termed as 5th pillar of democracy, which empowered the citizens of India to access information related to government and any organizations where money of tax payer is involved (Government Money). There are two important parts of the RTI act; one in which an applicant files a RTI application and Public Information Officer responds to that, which is also known as Information on demand, and the second part provide for suo motu disclosure of information, where all Public Authorities are bound to disclose necessary information via public platforms like internet and so on, from time to time. Later is more important than the former.
According to Section 4(2), Public Authorities should provide as much information on internet and other public domains as much possible, so that the public need not to use the RTI Act. However, in Himachal Pradesh, the case is other way round. Public Authorities are least bothered about Suo Motu disclosure. Most of the HP government departments, boards and corporations of Government of Himachal Pradesh are not updated from ages.
For instance, HRTC is the lifeline of public in Himachal Pradesh, but the corporation and its officials failed to follow the Suo Motu disclosure mentioned in section 4(2) in RTI Act. The website was last updated in the year of 2009. Seven years passed and HRTC hasn’t updated its Fleet Position and Staff Position. HRTC is not the only defaulter, and Department of Ayurveda’s website is another example of disobedience towards RTI Act guidelines. The website doesn’t have any link related to RTI, PIOs and Suo Motu disclosure and the district level setup information provided on the website is gibberish.
These are just a few examples. About 85% HP Govt. departments do not update the information regularly or not at all. Some of them don’t even have ‘RTI Act section’ on their websites.
RTI Act came into existence in order to make government functioning transparent but the government and its departments are not willing at all to make it transparent, which is indeed encouraging corruption. PIOs in most of the government departments complain that RTI applications affect its performance. However, this issue can be easily solved if the departments start following Suo Motu part of RTI Act.
Posted by Himanshu Thakur, RTI Activist