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KP Law Dept opposes PTI MPA’s bill to change RTI Act

By Bureau report
March 20, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Law Department has voiced reservations over the bill seeking amendments to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 aimed at benefiting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf favourite commissioner of the Information Commission.

The PTI member of the provincial assembly (MPA) Yasin Khalil had submitted an amendment to the KPRTI Act 2013, which he wanted to be tabled as private member bill in the next session of the provincial legislature.

The MPA, who belongs to the suburban village Tehkal, through his bill, wants to buy at least one-year extension for one of the commissioners, Iftikhar Hussain Khan, who belongs to village Palosai that falls in the constituency of Yasin Khalil.

Iftikhar Hussain, who was last year appointed as commissioner KPIC by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, is going to complete his tenure in the first week of June this year on attaining the age of 65.

However, the MPA has submitted the private bill which is aimed at seeking another year for the commissioners. The bill is seeking amendments to sub-sections 5 and 6 of Section 24 of the KPRTI Act 2013.

Sub-section 5 of Section 24 reads that the chief information commissioner and the commissioners can hold office for a term of three years from the date on which they assume office and will not be eligible for re-appointment. While sub-section 6 reads that the chief commissioner and commissioners shall not hold office after they have attained the age of 65 years.

However, the PTI MPA submitted his private member bill to the provincial assembly secretariat. He sought substitution of the sub-section 6 to allow his favorite commissioner to hold the office till attaining the age of 67.

The provincial assembly secretariat sent the bill to the Information and Public Relation Department on February 26, requesting it to take necessary consent of the provincial government as required under Article 115 of the Constitution.

It also called the Information Department to indicate such consent on bill within one month of its receipt, otherwise after expiration of the period necessary consent would be deemed to have been granted and the bill would be tabled in the house. The Information Department, before seeking the consent to the bill, sent it to the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department for its opinion.

The Law Department, official sources said, had placed reservations on the bill, saying it was against the spirit of Article 179 of the Constitution and a violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in this regard.