Right to Know

To know is the public right: IHC upholds PIC order against PHAF

Earlier, the PIC had directed the public body to comply with its order within seven working days.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed a writ petition filed by Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation (PHAF) and has upheld an earlier decision of the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC).

According to details, in pursuance of an appeal filed by a citizen, Abdullah Rashed Waraich, the PIC issued a detail verdict on June 12, 2021 and directed the PHAF director general  to disclose information about the recruitment made for the post of assistant directors (E/M)/(Civil) as requested by the citizen.

The public body was directed to comply with the order of the commission within seven working days.

However, the PHAF management challenged the order of PIC in Islamabad High Court and took a stand that the petitioner (PHAF) has already submitted all relevant record/information before the PIC and the citizen in respect of the post of assistant director (E/M) against which the citizen applied.

The petitioner stated, being custodian of records of applicants, who applied against the various posts, cannot be compelled or directed to provide all other records not relevant to the post of assistant director (E/M).

Judge Babar Sattar in an order dated July 12, 2021 dismissed the learned counsel for the petitioner has failed to point out any infirmity in the order of the Pakistan Information Commission, the petition is therefore, dismissed in limine.

Justice Louis Brandeis is often quoted as having said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant”, in the context of transparency and disclosure being an elixir to many societal and governmental malpractices.

 In this context, it is not for the petitioner to determine what information is and what is not relevant for a citizen seeking information that is otherwise liable to be disclosed under provision of the Act, Order of IHC states.

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