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National

July 16, 2016

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LHC dismisses PU petition against Information Commission order

ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has upheld a decision by the Punjab Information Commission directing the Punjab University (PU) to disclose details about hiring of its visiting teachers under the provincial right to information law.

The university had moved the LHC against a decision of the commission issued last month on the complaint of a citizen Sarmad Ali. Sarmad had requested information regarding hiring criteria of visiting faculty members in the Law College of PU and their total strength under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

However, the university had insisted that the information could only be provided to applicants who submit a copy of their Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC). The applicant moved the Punjab Information Commission after refusal of the university to provide details. T

he commission issued an order on June 10, 2016 directing the information officer of the university to share the details with the applicant. The commission held that requirement of the CNIC copy is not mandatory for the provision of information under the RTI law. “Some people still do not have CNICs, especially in rural areas, and some others can’t afford photocopying,” the commission said in its ruling.

The commission said the spirit of RTI law is to facilitate people in getting access to information. “The procedure should be simplified to facilitate people,” it said. But the Punjab University management went to the LHC against the decision accusing the commission of becoming a party and terming its verdict as illegal. However, the LHC judge Shahid Karim dismissed the petition. “The impugned order is based upon rational and reasonable grounds and has dealt with the objection of the petitioner university in a cogent and lawful manner and there is no cause for interference in the impugned order of this court in its constitutional jurisdiction,” the court ruled.

 

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