Right to Information

PIC takes suo-moto notice of Punjab Assembly rejection of information request

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Information Commission on Thursday took suo moto notice of an information request turned down by the Punjab Assembly.

According to details, a citizen – Syed Ali Raza has filed an information request on February 14, 2020, seeking information from the Punjab Assembly under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

The Punjab Assembly on February 25, turned down his request citing applicant had not enclosed identity card copy with the information request.

The Public Information Officer of PA through its letter stated that a copy of CNIC must be enclosed with the application to entertain it under the RTI act. As the copy of CNIC is not attached to the application so the information request is filed (turned down/dropped).

The applicant shared the letter received from PIO on social media.

Mehboob Qadir – Chief Information Commissioner PIC – took suo-moto notice of the matter and issued summon notice to the Punajb Asselmby PIO. The Commission directed the PIO to appear in person before the commission on March 16, 2020.

The notice stated, the RTI Appeal (complaint) converted into appeal from a post on social media in exercise of sue-moto powers conferred us 6(1) (a) which reads as follows,

The commission may conduct an inquiry on its own accord or on a complaint and may direct a public body to disclose information to an application in a pro-active manner.

It is further stated that there is no provision available in RTI Act to make the submission of copy of ID card mandatory.

Earlier this, the Pakistan Information Commission in an order title Mukhtar Ahmed Ali Vs National Assembly Secretariat dated December 17, 2019 had decided that all Public Information Officers designated under Section 9 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 are directed not to demand the provision of certified copy of CNIC when an applicant mentions that s/he is citizen of Pakistan. A Public Information Officer can only demand production of CNIC when it is warranted by objective grounds, i.e. a request for information seems to have been filed from abroad.

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