Right to Information

NADRA’s non-compliance to share information annoys PIC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Information Commission on Thursday expressed resentment over non-compliance to its order by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) even after the issuance of show cause notice.

In pursuance of the show cause notice issued to the designated Public Information Office (PIO), hearing of an appeal was held at the PIC.

Mujahid Ali – Deputy Director (Legal) NADRA- appeared on behalf of NADRA and provided partial information requested by the citizen. He requested the commission to withdraw the show-cause notice as the requested information are exempted.

The information commissioners expressed resentment over the provision of partial information even after the issuance of orders and show cause notice and asked, why the public body is reluctant to share the general information that should be available on their website under Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act of 2017.

 Mujahid Ali responded that Section 28 and 29 of NADRA Ordinance, 2000 prohibit them from sharing any information regarding the NADRA data with the public, it is a confidential record, he maintained.

Zahid Abdullah – Information Commissioner – asked if the NADRA share data of total number disable / transgender persons on its website, or total number of Mobile CNIC Registration vehicles available with the NADRA, how it can be a security concern.

In fact, the requested information will help the government to take steps for the betterment of these communities accordingly, he added.

Mohammad Azam – Chief Information commissioner maintained, the RTI act is very clear about the sensitive or third-party information that cannot be shared with the public, if there is any confusion the commission will decide whether the information is exempted or not.

This development was made in pursuance of an order of the PIC issued on February 25, 2020, in which the Chairman NADRA was directed to deduct five days salary of the designated PIO Faik Ali Chachar imposed as fine under section 20 (f) of the Right of Access to Information Act of 2017.

The public body was also directed to provide the requested information by the citizen within ten working days, but NADRA did not bother to respond to the notices and orders of the commission, after which show cause notice was issued.

The information sought by the appellant Mukhtar Ahmed Ali was about total number sanctioned post, vacant posts, the number of transgender, and disabled persons working in NADRA. Moreover, the citizen also requested information about various types of NADRA offices across the country and the total number of various types of mobile registration vehicles, their capacity to register and the latest condition.

The information about the number of sanctioned and vacant posts was produced during the hearing however The rest of the information was denied.

Mujahid Ali – respondent- said, only information regarding Human Resource (HR) can be shared with the citizen as per law, while the other requested information cannot be shared according to the NADRA ordinance.

The case was adjourned until August 20, 2020, with the direction to the respondent to make sure the appearance of PIO before the commission and update the website according to the section 5 of the Right of Access to information act 2017.

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