The Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Movement (J&K RTIM) has impressed upon the state government to pass the Whistle Blower Protection Law and set up fast track courts so as to decide about the cases pertaining to RTI Act. The demand was made by J&K RTIM Chairman Dr. Sheikh Ghulam Rasool and other participants during one day training workshop on RTI Act at Bandipora. The workshop was organized to empower people through the use of RTI Act. The workshop was jointly J&K (J&K RTIM) and Common Wealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).At the end of the programme the participants reached to the conclusion that state government needs to implement Section 4 (Proactive disclosure) and section 23 (awareness among public about RTI Act) and restore RTI Rules-2010. "It becomes imperative on the state government to pass Whistle Blower Protection Law. At the same time fast track courts need to be set up to decide the cases pertaining to RTI Act. The State Vigilance Commission and State Accountability Commission need to be restructured and strengthened," said Dr. Ghulam Rasool while addressing the participants at the workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to equip participants with knowledge to file an RTI application and respond to their specific queries. The subjects that were covered involved personal issues-government documents and neighbourhood development issues. The structure involved was focus on outline of how to draft an RTI application and Issue specific RTI queries.
The J&K RTIM Chairman and Co-convener NCPRI gave a detailed presentation on the various sections and sub-sections of J&K RTI Act-2009. He explained that RTI Act aimed to provide legal right to the citizens to obtain information under the control of public authorities and thereby provide transparency and accountability in governance to people.
"RTI is the best tool to fight the menace of corruption and people from all walks of life must use it in a proper and constructive way to work for an open and transparent system in the state," he said.
District Coordinator Bandipora, Shakeel ur Rasool said that J&K RTIM will keep on working for awareness and education of the RTI Act in far flung areas of Bandipora and the priority will be protection of Environment.
Keeping in view the deterioration of Asia's largest fresh water lake, the Wular, a committee by the J&K RTIM wing of Bandipora was formed under Shakeel-Ur-Rasool. The committee will function under protocols and guiding principles of 'Conserve Wular' mission of J&K RTIM.
All the participants shared their experiences with each other and pledged to serve society for the common good of all. The participants expressed gratitude to both JKRTIM and CHRI-Delhi for conducting the first ever RTI workshop in Bandipora district.