Right to Information

The Jammu and Kashmir  State was one of the pioneering states which introduced the concept of transparency  law as early as in 2004. In 2004, the State Legislature passed the Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act (Act No: I of 2004, January 2004). This Act has empowered every citizen in the state to obtain information from the “INCHARGE”  of the office and the information was to be supplied within a period of 30 days. However this legislation was not so effective and so powerful as that of Indian Right to Information Act, 2005. Consequently, a demand for bringing the Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act at par with Central Information Act, 2005 was raised. The demand was accepted by the then J&K Government and present transparency Act which is christened as Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act, 2009 (Act No: VIII of 2009) was passed in the year 2009. The distinguishing feature of this Act is that it broadened the definition of information and brought it on the same lines as that of definition of information in Central Act 2005. This Act broadened the  scope of right to information and shortened the list of prohibitory exemptions. Whereas there were more prohibitions in the Act of 2004, prohibitions under section 8 and 9 of the present act have been restricted. Similarly, in the repealed Act, 2004 there was no provision for an autonomous Commission entrusted with the job of ensuring the compliance of the Act and also vested with wider powers for enforcing right to information given to the residents of the State. The Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act, 2009 in certain respects like placing a time limit for the Commission to decide an appeal and placing an obligation on the First Appellate Authority to make a reference to the Commission for imposing of penalty on the PIO as enumerated in Section 16(3) of the Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act, 2009. Though Jammu & Kashmir State Right to Information Act was passed in year 2009 , Government took some time to establish the secretariat of the Commission which was established vide SRO Notification NO:325 dated 19-10-2009. First Chief Information Commissioner of the Commission was appointed on 28th February 2011   and two Commissioners were appointed on 24-10-2011 and 18-11-2011 . However the Commission started deciding the appeals and complaints with effect from March 2011