ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Information Commission has issued show cause notices to the Public Information Officers (PIO) of the Ministry of Climate Change (MOCC) and Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) for not complying with the orders of the commission.
The commission has directed the PIOs of the ministry and concerned public body to appear in person before the commission on March 03, 2020 to explain as to why proceedings may not be initiated against them under Section 20 (2) of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 which states that, Non-compliance of a decision of the Information Commissioner under the clauses of (e) and (f) of sub-section (1) may, if it has not been appealed against within thirty days, be dealt with in the same way as contempt of court.
The Pak-EPA and MOCC on December 16 and December 26 last year were directed to provide the information requested by this scribe under the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 commonly known as RTI Act within ten working days. The public bodies were also directed to share the requested on their website before Jan 16.
However, despite the passage of more than 2 months neither the MOCC nor the Pak-EPA complied with the order of the commission.
The government departments were having the option to challenge the order of commission in high court within 30 days (one month) after the issuance of the order, however, they neither challenged the orders of the commission nor complied it.
The Article 19-A of the constitution of Pakistan and the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 gives the right to every citizen to request the information and document from any federal government department, and according to said act, the public body is bound to provide the requested information within 10 working days to the citizen.
Pakistan Information Commission is the regulatory authority which deals with the complaints of the citizen who do not received information from the government departments within the stipulated time period prescribed in the right of access to information act 2017.
The commission is bound to decide the appeals within 60 days after the receipt of the complaint.
The commission so far received more than 330 complaints against different federal public bodies and has resolved more than 200 of them. The commission has also issued more than 35 detailed judgments so far, after hearing the appeals. The commission has also fined PIOs of three public bodies i.e. NADRA, LESCO and Pakistan Railway for not complying to the orders of the commission.