Most departments fail to implement RTI law

PESHAWAR: The Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) on Tuesday said that a scorecard it had prepared revealed poor implementation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information (RTI) law by different departments.

A statement issued here said that the RTI scorecard developed for evaluating public bodies' performance on implementation of RTI law, weighted both responses and provision of the requested information. The CGPA filed 152 information requests to 32 provincial and 132 to district level health, education, public health engineering, district courts and police departments. It said that maximum weight-age for responding to information requests within 10 days was 10 marks.

It said that Nowshera and Dera Ismail Khan turned out to be the best performers in implementation of RTI law while Chitral and Upper Dir were the worst performers. At provincial level, finance, food, information and public relations, and tourism departments were the best performers in implementing the law, while health, labour, law, mineral development, and planning and development departments were the worst performers.

The CGPA said the police department at district level was the best implementer of the law, followed by health and public health engineering departments. District courts and education department remained at the bottom as far as implementation of the RTI law was concerned.

It said that under RTI law, every public body should provide requested information within 10 working days. But, only one department, public health engineering department of DI Khan, provided the requested information within the required time.

It was also revealed that out of 152 information requests, only 62 departments responded within 20 working days, and of the 90 complaints filed with the RTI Commission, only 50 could be resolved within the stipulated 60 days. The release said 40 complaints were yet not resolved despite the lapse of 60 days.

The CGPA demanded of all administrative heads of the public bodies at the district and provincial levels to fulfill their constitutional and legal responsibility by implementing the RTI law in letter and spirit. When approached, RTI Commission officials told Dawn that they would comment on the report after going through it.