Friday October 07, 2022

SHC seeks report on implementation of right to information law

June 06, 2022

The Sindh High Court has directed a provincial law officer to file a comprehensive statement with regard to steps taken for the implementation of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016.

The direction came recently on a petition seeking the enforcement of the provisions of the Act in letter and spirit. The high court was informed by the provincial law officer that the Sindh Information Commission had been established through a notification on June 2. Placing a notification before the court, the law officer submitted that the commission comprised three members, including the chairman, who had been appointed for three years.

A division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, after taking the statement on record, directed the law officer to file a comprehensive statement with regard to steps being taken under the 2016 law.

The petition, which was filed by non-governmental organisations and rights activists, maintained that the law for right to information was promulgated in 2016 and the provincial government was bound to make the Sindh Information Commission pursuant to the law within 100 days after the promulgation but despite passage of multiple years, the Sindh government had failed to give the law its due effect and enforcement.

They said that the purpose of enactment of the law was that every public body shall at all times endeavour to maintain transparency in discharge of its functions and citizens shall exercise their right to acquire information or record held by any public body and they shall have the right to access to information.

They petitioners maintained that the provincial government had rendered the law a mere paperwork. They submitted that the citizens were unable to access or approach the commission and register their complaints and so they had been denied their right to information provided under the law.

The high court was requested to declare that the action of the provincial government to not implement the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act was unconstitutional, and direct the government to constitute the Sindh Information Commission and ensure its functioning as per the law.