ISLAMABAD- Punjab government continues dragging its feet on the implementation of Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 which was enacted by Punjab Assembly last year on December 16, 2013.
Though information commissioners have been appointed but no budget has been allocated for Punjab Information Commission which shows lack of seriousness of Punjab government in implementing Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.
Soon after this law was enacted, civil society groups, journalists and citizens started filing information requests to public bodies under this law. In majority of the cases that have come to the knowledge of Coalition on Right to Information, (CRTI), public bodies have failed to provide requested information to civil society groups, citizens and journalists.
However, citizens, journalists and civil society groups cannot file complaints to Punjab Information Commission because Punjab Information Commission does not have formal address and office. At the same time, Public bodies have not notified designation of Public Information Officers who are responsible for not only providing requested information to citizens but also have been tasked under Punjab Right to information law to proactively disclose information to citizens through various means like putting information on web sites of the public bodies.
Coalition on Right to Information urges Punjab government to allocate one line budget for Punjab Information Commission to ensure its administrative and financial autonomy on urgent basis so that it could start performing functions envisioned in Punjab transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.