Info fee orders PA to make particulars of MPAs accessible – Pakistan

LAHORE: The Punjab Info Fee (PIC) has denied the immunity to the Punjab Meeting (PA) from the legislation on proper to info and ordered it to make the main points referring to the efficiency and the funds allotted to the MPAs accessible on its web site for simple entry to the frequent residents.

The fee handed the order dismissing an software by the general public info officer (PIO) of the meeting claiming immunity in opposition to the Proper to Info (RTI) Act 2013.

“We’re involved with a rising pattern for fairly a while that public our bodies established underneath the Structure have began claiming immunity from RTI legislation on the bottom that they’re constitutional our bodies and their guidelines are additionally framed in train of powers conferred underneath the Structure,” observes the PIC comprising Chief Info Commissioner Mahboob Qadir Shah and two info commissioners Shaukat Ali and Dr Arif Mushtaq Chaudhry.

Initially, a journalist from Sahiwal, Sadia Mazhar, had invoked the provisions of the RTI legislation and sought particulars concerning the seven MPAs of her district together with their efficiency within the meeting, funds allotted to them, reimbursements and different allowances claimed by them since 2019.

On her software, the PIC had on Jan 23 ordered the provincial meeting to enhance its web site making the data concerning the MPAs simply accessible for the residents.

Nevertheless, the PIO of the meeting filed an software earlier than the fee claiming immunity from the RTI legislation. The appliance argued that for the reason that guidelines of process of the Punjab Meeting 1997 have been framed in train of powers conferred underneath the Structure, due to this fact, the mentioned guidelines have been supreme and shall take priority over the precise to info legislation.

Rejecting the argument cited within the software, the fee observes that it’s unlucky that the PIO twisted the constitutional provisions in sharp contradiction to the plain interpretation of the Structure on the threat of inflicting harm to the status of the Punjab Meeting for the historic laws to implement elementary proper to info.

The fee additionally expresses its concern over a non-public member invoice not too long ago launched within the Senate searching for amendments to the Pakistan Info Act 2017 to exclude the parliament from the definition of public physique, thus, immune from the operation of the RTI legislation.

“In our view, a constitutional physique incurs better accountability to guard the sanctity of the Structure than an peculiar public physique,” the PIC observes in its order and likewise provides that the grounds taken to say “constitutional immunity” quantity to subversion of the Structure and never sustainable within the eye of legislation.

Dismissing the appliance of the PA info officer, the fee reiterates its order directing the meeting to enhance its web site making the data simply accessible.The PIC notes that it shall be appreciated if the duty is accomplished earlier than the subsequent election of the meeting to allow the residents to reap the fruits of transparency by understanding the efficiency of their chosen representatives.

Printed in Daybreak, March twelfth, 2023

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