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Seven govt depts fined for withholding information

By Bureau report
November 16, 2021

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission (KPIC) on Monday imposed a fine on seven government departments for not providing information to the citizens while serving show-cause notice on 19 public bodies for withholding public records sought by people.

The KPIC took the decision against the government departments during a special sitting while taking up the cases wherein the public bodies failed to provide the record sought by citizens even beyond the timeline as the provisions of the KP Right to Information Act (KP RTI Act) 2013.

The commission, while invoking Section 26 (2) KPRTI law, imposed Rs 10,000 each on six departments — District Education Officer (Male) district Khyber, Mansehra Press Club, Village Council Toru No2 Mardan, Village Council Shamatpur No 1 Mardan, Deputy Commissioner of Kurram and District Education Officer (Female) Nowshera while it fined Directorate Law and Human Rights Rs 15000.

Taking strong exception to the lethargy and lukewarm response by some public bodies in providing information to the citizens, the commission served final notices to four government departments.

They were directed to provide forthwith the data to the requesters. These include the Administration Department, Peshawar Institute of Cardiology, Higher Education department Peshawar and Hazara University, Mansehra.

It is pertinent to mention here that the KPIC after the inordinate delay in the disposal of the cases due to Covid-19 and some other related issues worked out a mechanism to expedite disposal of the complaints where the information had not been provided even beyond the timeline as provided in the law and decided to fine the public bodies adamant on withholding the information sought by citizens.

The commission, while making observations about some public bodies which have released information to the citizens, said that following the Covid 19 and subsequent measures by the government some cases had gone beyond the time as stipulated in the law.

It directed the government departments to provide the data to the public and publish the same proactively.

The following public bodies were issued show-cause notices: BISE Peshawar, Health Department, DEO Female Lakki Marwat, Communication & Works Department, Health Department, Local Government & Rural Development Department (LGRDD) Peshawar, DPO Peshawar, Swat University, ETEA Peshawar, DEO Female Swabi, DEO Male Khyber, Local Government & Rural Development Department (LGRDD) Bannu, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Peshawar, Administration Department.It said that no lethargy and dereliction on the part of any public bodies in the provision of the public record would be allowed in the future.