PILDAT Legislative Brief on the Right To Information Bill 2014

rti

PILDAT Legislative Brief on the Right To Information Bill 2014

This brief has been originally published by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency (PILDAT) and can be accessed at: http://www.pildat.org/Publications/publication/FOI/LB_TheRighttoInformationBill2014.pdf 

According to the Global RTI Rating of the Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy, Pakistan’s new draft RTI law is on its way to obtaining the highest ranking as the best legal framework on the right to information in the world, if Parliament passes this draft Bill.

For reference, the Draft RTI Bill can be accessed athttp://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bill.15.07.12.pdf

 

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

This Legislative Brief has been authored by Ms. Anoosha Shaigan (Advocate High Court, Editor CourtingTheLaw.com and Global Shaper World Economic Forum), and reviewed by Mr. Shahid Hamid (Senior Advocate Supreme Court, Former Governor Punjab and Former Federal Minister). It is published by PILDAT under the More effective Right-To-Information (RTI) at Federal and Provincial level (Sindh and Punjab) Project, for which it has received financial support from the Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) under the Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) Project. The views and analyses in this Legislative Brief do not necessarily represent the views of the Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI).

 

Current Status of the Bill

The Freedom of Information Ordinance (FoI) 2002, which is currently in effect at the Centre was promulgated by Former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on October 26, 2002 [1] followed by the Cabinet Division notifying Federal Freedom of Information Rules on June 18, 2004 [2]. With the incorporation of Article 19-A into the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan through the 18 Amendment on April 8, 2010, [3] the right to information (RTI) has also been acknowledged as a fundamental constitutional right. Consequently legislation enabling the exercise of this right and redressal in case of its denial has been mandatory since 2010. However, it has taken the Federal Government five years to prepare the draft Bill for the purpose. Meanwhile the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have enacted progressive RTI laws in 2013 while Balochistan and Sindh, who passed their Freedom of Information Acts in 2005 and 2006, continue with regressive right to information laws much the same as the Federal FoI 2002.

On July 15, 2014, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, approved the draft of the Right to Information Bill 2014 with proposed amendments after having referred it to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This Bill is currently awaiting Federal Cabinet approval before it is tabled in the Parliament for passage and later its promulgation. Pakistan, with its current outdated FoI Ordinance 2002, is placed at 83 position out of 102 countries according to Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy’s (CLD’s) Global RTI Rating. However, Pakistan’s new draft RTI law could obtain the highest score on the same ranking [4], as the best legal framework on the right to information in the world, projected to be 11 points ahead of the best rated law of Serbia at present, if Parliament passes this draft Bill in its current form.

 

Highlights of the Bill

i. The RTI Bill is designed to repeal the Freedom of Information Ordinance (XCVI of 2002) – the existing right to information law at the Federal level.

ii. It is based on the principle to provide maximum disclosure, minimum exceptions, no blanket immunity for public bodies, and imposition of penalties for withholding or destroying information. Maximum and proactive disclosure has not been a highlighting feature of the FoI 2002.

iii. The proposed law recognizes the citizens’ right to know under the Constitution and to have access to information about the activities of the Government, while the FoI 2002 was has been more restrictive in this regard.

iv. The proposed Bill aims to empower the citizens on account of the right to know, impart access to public records under broad categories with limited exemptions, increase the capacity of citizens to effectively monitor the performance of the Government and ensure transparency and accountability.

v. The draft RTI Bill would be applicable to all public bodies under the Federal Government throughout Pakistan, as well as NGOs, courts and the Parliament. In addition to entities belonging to the Federal Government, the law would apply to entities in the Cantonment areas in the provinces, like local governments as well as educational institutions set up by the Federal Government in Cantonment areas. The existing provincial laws would still be applicable to entities set up by the Provincial Government.

vi. The law contains provisions to make public the documents and records that were considered highly classified two decades ago.

vii. It protects the right to privacy and personal information of individuals from public disclosure without consent. However it will not exempt an individual if the information sought is about his/her duties as a public official or if evidence pertaining to a public hearing needs to be disclosed.

viii. The Bill lays down procedures to be followed in making requests for information from public bodies.

ix. As compared to the previous Ordinance of 2002 in effect at the Federal level, the Bill does not require information requesters to state their personal interest in the information being sought.

x. The Bill creates offences and prescribes punishments and penalties for functionaries violating any provisions of the law and officials who do not comply with the provisions of the proposed Act.

xi. The Bill extends punishments to information seekers submitting vexatious and frivolous requests.

xii. The Bill provides for the establishment of an Information Commission within 120 days of the promulgation of the proposed law consisting of 3 members / Commissioners and provides for a mechanism dedicated to hearing information disclosure related appeals, as opposed to the Ombudsman with limited powers.

 

Executive Summary

The RTI Bill 2014 caters to the constitutional right under Article 19A more effectively than the law it is intended to replace – the Freedom of Information Ordinance (FoI) 2002, which was apparently enacted to fulfill certain loan and aid disbursement prerequisites of the Asian Development Bank. The FoI 2002 is lacking in necessary provisions for effective implementation of RTI as a right.

The proposed RTI law is more specific, has a shorter time frame for responses, provides for a more effective oversight body in the form of an independent statutory Information Commission as opposed to the Ombudsman that had limited powers, and imposes penalties upon officials for denying requests without good reason. It has a comprehensive scope, covering broad categories of information for disclosure with limited exemptions as well as having a comprehensive definition of public bodies, including all private organizations and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) benefiting substantially from public funding. It also acts as the overriding legislation on matters of information disclosure, unlike the FoI 2002, and therefore trumps over-restrictive laws like the Official Secrets Act 1923 and provisions with similar effect in Government Servants (Conduct) Rules 1964. The Bill also includes strong provisions for the promotion of RTI usage and implementation in line with regional and international best practices.

Despite these strengths, there are some areas of the Bill that require urgent reconsideration and improvement. While the Preamble establishes favourable presumptions for access to public information in the interests of transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation in government, it should also contain presumptions in favour of timely, cost effective and inclusive access for the maximum number of people, all of which are principles enshrined in the progressive RTI laws of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. Political parties must also be expressly included under the ambit of the law following the trend being set by India.

Further, provisions pertaining to promotion of RTI and facilitation of access to public information, if they are to have the desired effect, must be free from certain loopholes easily open to abuse. Similar loopholes pertaining to information exempt from disclosure and refusals of information requests must also be revised as they give undue discretion to public officials in determining when and how disclosure takes place.

Clauses in most urgent need of revision within the draft pertain to the empowerment of the Pakistan Information Commission as an independent and effective oversight body. Right to appeal before courts must be provided against arbitrary removal of Information Commissioners by the Government. A provision may also be provided to the effect that Members of Commission shall not be removed during their terms of office except in the manner prescribed in Article 209 of the Constitution.

The law must also be clearer on different classes of offences under the proposed Act – i.e., what constitutes a regular offence and what constitutes a serious offence, as the limit of punishments for both kinds of offences is markedly different in the law. Also in need of clarification is the forum of appeals against the Commission’s decisions in deciding a complaint.

Finally, power for removal of difficulties in implementation and the power to makes Rules for implementation of the law should not rest exclusively with the Government of Pakistan, which should be required by law to enact Rules upon advice of the Information Commission.

 

Issues & Analysis of the Bill

The draft RTI law prepared by the Government of Pakistan has earned accolades on the Global RTI ranking, yet there are some important areas in the current draft which require further reconsideration. The following analysis of the Bill is based on comparisons with the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 and existing RTI legislation in KP and Punjab.


Title

i. ‘Freedom of Information’ has now been replaced by ‘Right to Information’ wherever it appears in the title or text, since Article 19A of the Constitution of Pakistan recognizes it as the ‘Right to Information.’


Scope

i. The draft RTI Bill would be applicable to all public bodies defined in section 2. This would mean that in addition to entities of the Federal Government throughout Pakistan, the law would apply to Local Governments in the Cantonment area and also the educational institutions set up by the Federal Government. It is also applicable to companies and other entities funded by the Federal Government, including NGOs. The existing provincial laws would still be applicable to entities set up by the Provincial Government.

ii. The scope of the fundamental right to access information must be interpreted liberally to fulfill a cardinal rule of constitutional and statutory interpretation: fundamental rights must be provided to a maximum number of citizens. This should be reflected in the Preamble of the Bill.


Preamble

i. Much like the progressive RTI laws in Punjab and KP, the Preamble of the Bill must include strong presumptions in favour of timely, cost-effective and more inclusive access to public information.


Public Bodies

i. The proposed RTI Bill brings all public bodies, including Parliament and courts, under the ambit of the law. Definition of public body includes all branches of Government – legislative, judicial and executive – as well as private bodies holding information essential to public interest or substantially benefiting from public funds or resources.

ii. Section 2 (ix) definition of “public body” is very comprehensive but it fails to include political parties in clear terms. Developments in India with regard to the inclusion of political parties under the ambit of RTI law are worth considering in this regard.


Access to Information and Promotional Measures

i. The FoI Ordinance-2002 did not recognize all categories of information, thereby restricting disclosure of information. This created an imbalance between the citizen’s right to information and the government’s right to withhold classified information.

ii. The requesting procedure under the FoI Ordinance 2002 was also cumbersome for citizens trying to access public records. However, under the proposed Bill the exercise of this right does not require reasons for making the request.

iii. The draft Bill makes it mandatory for all public bodies to maintain their records properly and publish the availability of such records for information of the public. It further calls for the computerization of records and more proactive and voluntary disclosure of certain categories of records on the internet.

iv. Sections 5 and 6: – proactive disclosure is “subject to availability of resources” – this provides a loophole to public bodies by giving them undue discretion in implementing RTI mechanisms, processing information requests and ensuring computerization. Such provisions would defeat the purpose of the Bill and should not be included. Computerization needs to be mandatory in this day and age. In this regard, RTI laws in Punjab and KP are more progressive, as they do not leave implementation progress up to the discretion of individual public bodies, while the Punjab Information Commission has also notified minimum standards for public record management.

v. Section 9(6) of the draft Bill requires that a receipt acknowledging an information request must be provided “as soon as possible” via the same means as the request was made. This is useful but should establish a precise time limit within which such a receipt must be provided so that public bodies do not delay in providing them.

vi. Section 11 – 3 working days should be proposed instead of 5 days for transfer of requests for information not held by a public body. If the application is sent to the wrong department, it is now the receiving department’s responsibility to send it to the relevant one, while intimating this to the person requesting information.

vii. The draft RTI law seeks to promote public awareness, ensure trainings and capacity building measures and to limit exemptions. Government commitments exist but the existing laws at the Federal level, Sindh and Balochistan have not been sufficiently supplemented by rules of procedure in this regard.


Exemption from Disclosure

i. The proposed Bill gives details of the areas wherein information can be denied (Sections 17-27). However, the exclusions contained in the Bill ought not to be given effect in an arbitrary manner which would defeat the purpose of the law. It is correct that the right to information is conditional and that information could be withheld on account of national security, but to ensure that law enforcement and intelligence agencies do not exceed legal constraints, there must be a strong and effective mechanism to hold them accountable for justifying any restrictions, such as the ‘harm test’ that decides when disclosure is in public interest or when its harms outweigh the benefits [5]. Ensuring accountability in the disclosure of public information is essential for democratic governance.

ii. Section 12 – Denying or refusing to provide information for reasons given in this Act should not be up to the decision of the designated official. If information has to be refused, the designated official should refer the matter to the principal officer who should take the decision in consultation with at least 2 other senior officers other than the designated official. Powers to refuse should not be vested in one person. Similarly, determining to refuse information (on grounds of national security, etc.) should not be left to a subordinate official alone, in any public body.

iii. Section 14 – Inspection of record – The proviso in last line “refused if it unreasonably interferes with its operations….” –may be open to abuse. Since this law is for the citizens’ right to information, refusal should not be made on this ground since the majority of requests would be refused on this basis alone. This clause may be cut out as the law already outlines exemptions in Section 26 in favour of the integrity of government operations and decision making in more clear terms.

iv. Section 20 rightly respects privacy and personal information of individuals from public disclosure without consent. However it will not exempt an individual if the information sought is about his duties as a public official or if evidence pertaining to a public hearing needs to be disclosed.

v. Section 25 – Exemption of privileged legal information – It should be added that “…information shall not be exempt if any court summons for it during judicial proceedings”.


Overriding Effect of the Law

i. The draft law has been given an overriding effect over all other conflicting laws, by virtue of Section 37 which the existing FoI Ordinance 2002 did not have. In Punjab and KP, disclosure of information also takes precedence over restricting access.


Formation of Independent Information Commission

i. The Bill provides for the establishment of an Information Commission within 120 days of the promulgation of the proposed law consisting of 3 members / Commissioners and provides for a mechanism dedicated to hearing information disclosure. Countries of the region such as Bangladesh, Nepal and India have entrusted the task of protecting RTI to independent and autonomous Information Commissions. Punjab and KP RTI laws also include the establishment of independent and powerful information commissions to take action against departments denying public access to information.

iii. Tenure of Information Commissioners is rightly fixed at 4 years.

iv. Further, the law must include provisions to ensure that delays in the filling of vacant or soon-to-be vacant positions in the Commission are not allowed. The law should require the Federal Government to initiate the prescribed recruitment process before imminent retirement or removal of a Commissioner. Acting Commissioners may also be appointed if a permanent appointment is awaited.

v. Section 29(8) provides for the removal of a Commissioner by a three-member panel appointed by the Chairman of the Senate (one member) and the Speaker of the National Assembly (two members). Grounds of removal for sitting Information Commissioners (i.e. those whose term in office has not yet been completed) should be in the manner prescribed in Article 209 of the Constitution.

vi. Section 30 – Functions of the Commission – In case a complaint is being received by the principal officer of a public body, the Information Commission should only have the responsibility to entertain and decide appeals against the principal officer’s decisions.

vii. Section 31(4) – It is not clear where the forum against appeal of the Commission’s decisions lies. Ideally, such appeals should not be heard in courts lower than the High Court, in line with Article 199(1)(c) of the Constitution. The Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 has express provisions (Section 17 and 18) preventing Courts from taking cognizance of offences under the Act, and barring suits from being filed against the Commission’s decisions, unless expressly directed by the Commission.

viii. Section 33(2) – Offences – The word repeated should be cut out from this clause. Even a single act of obstruction, provided it is serious, should be triable as a criminal offence to act as a strong deterrent against the obstruction of the implementation of the Act. What constitutes a “serious” offence must also be clearly defined, similar to the provision laid out in Section 33(1). Currently, there is no reliable way of differentiating one set of offences from another. This is necessary as the punishments for regular offences and serious offences differs considerably.

ix. Section 39 – Power to remove difficulty – This power should not rest solely with the Federal Government. Rather the Government should be authorized to remove difficulties arising from the implementation of the Act or any of its provisions only upon advice of the Information Commission.

x. Section 40 – Power to make rules – It should be added that the Federal Government may make rules in consultation with the Information Commission.


Complaints, Appeals and Sanctions

i. Section 2(iii) of the draft Act defines a “complaint”, which is the first stage of review of a request for information while no definition of an appeal, namely the second stage of review, before the Information Commission, is provided for.

ii. Section 13 – The time limit for responding should be a maximum of 5 working days without any further extensions, otherwise requests would just pile up, thereby defeating the purpose of the law.

iii. Section 28 refers to the procedure of complaints and appeals where an application or request has not been disposed within the time prescribed and an appeal was forwarded to the head of a public body.

iv. Section 28 – When a complaint goes to the principal officer – 5 working days should be proposed instead of 10 days. And then 60 days are given for appeal – this should be 20 days instead, in order to make the process efficient so that the matter is disposed of in the shortest possible time. Timeframes have been specified for processing and responding to information requests, appointment of designated officials, facilitation of individual applicants in making requests and lodging appeals to an independent administrative body. The FoI-2002 on the other hand envisaged unreasonable restrictions on the right to appeal and did not specify timeframe for the disposal of complaints and the decision on appeals. Punjab’s commitment to timely access to information and the broad right of appeal against RTI-violations is better in comparison with other provinces.

v. The 2002 Ordinance did not provide for penalties for denying requests other than nominal fines. In case of non-compliance with the draft law, punishments have been prescribed under Section 33.

vi. Section 33(2) – The prescribed punishment of 2 years should be simple imprisonment. In addition to the penalties prescribed in subsections (1) and (2), it should be stated that such an offender will also be proceeded against under the relevant departmental rules.


Costs and Funding

i. Costs to obtain information should be reasonable. Existing costs introduced through the Rules of Business 2004 are criticized as being unreasonable while the proposed RTI law under Section 15 declares lodging of requests to be free, followed by reasonable procedural costs of reproducing information, which may be further detailed in the subsequent Rules that would follow.


Designated Officials

i. In the Section on Definitions, this term should be replaced with the term “Public Information Officers”, which a clearer and more easily identifiable designation title.

ii. Section 7 proviso is incorrect if the principal officer entertains the request himself, not allowing the complainant go to a higher authority than himself. Principal officer should appoint someone else temporarily in place of a designated official, who is still subordinate to him or her, so that a chain of hierarchy can be established and leaving an Appeal to the principal officer. The term principal officer may be replaced with Head of Department/Head of Body, as it is clearer.

iii. Section 36(d) – There is no Chief Secretary at the Federal level, therefore this may be substituted with the word “Cabinet Secretary” or “Establishment Secretary”.


Indemnity

i. The term ‘acts in good faith’ under Section 34 and 35 should be dropped as this could be used as a convenient defence or at least delay action being taken against any public official guilty of offence under RTI.

 

International and Regional Best Practices on the Form and Implementation of RTI Legislation

1. Right to Information is an internationally protected human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 and under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1968, ratified by Pakistan and recognized in its 1973 Constitution through the 18 Amendment. Pakistan also endorses international commitments of the Commonwealth and SAARC towards openness, transparency and accountability in public bodies, which obligate every country to install effective mechanisms to guarantee this right to citizens.

2. Under the post-2015 Global Development Agenda and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN and other intergovernmental organizations can also facilitate dialogue, share best practices and promote international cooperation for the implementation of RTI via public-private partnerships. [6]

3. A set of current international standards has also been developed for ideal RTI legislation under UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, 1999 and a resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Freedom of Expression, 2000. They have already been endorsed in a Special Report produced by the Pakistan National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage. [7]

4. The scope of RTI laws in Nepal, Bangladesh and India extends to all tiers of government and RTI legislation in Nepal covers all political parties as well. India extends this right beyond citizens to all legal persons, including registered immigrants. As per the Indian Supreme Court’s directives, the expenditure of political parties comes under the purview of their 2005 RTI Act and private organizations substantially financed through public funding are also legally bound to disclose information [8]. Bangladesh’s RTI regime is progressive in providing protection to whistleblowers and granting full authority to the Information Commission to sanction individual public officials as well as public bodies.

5. India’s Right to Information Act, 2005 is generally lauded for being progressive and having an excellent implementation track record. The scope of this federal law also extends throughout the country, providing for more uniformity and standardization of laws throughout the states. Highlights include provisions such as the information seeker not having to provide reasons for requesting information; its citizen-friendly nature since the application for information does not have to be too formal and the information is delivered without the jargons of official language. Moreover, if a public authority fails to comply with the specified time limit, the information to the concerned applicant would have to be provided free of charge [9]. Multiple tools and channels of communication are used for strengthening the implementation of the RTI Act, including books and e-books, the provision of internet facilities and local area networks, interactive websites, call-centre help-lines, mobile and tablet applications on e-governance. [10], [11]. Facilities for lodging and tracking complaints and appeals are also available in the form of automatically generated tokens sent to the citizen via SMS. Video conferencing can also be scheduled with necessary arrangements for the interactive session between the requester and the authorities, thereby saving time, money and the hassles of travel. The media and civil society organizations are also very actively involved in ensuring the implementation of the law. Citizen- government partnerships must be promoted since countries, such as Mexico, where the civil society is actively involved in the process of implementing access to information laws, have a better response rate. [12]

6. Training and capacity building of government functionaries is encouraged to enable them to successfully discharge their duties as Public Information Officers [13]. In view of high illiteracy among the poor, a multi-media approach should be adopted to educate and train people of diverse linguistic backgrounds. They should be taught to make the best use of information for effective participation in economic and political processes. This alone can ensure cost-effective and widespread use of the provisions of the RTI Act [14].

 

Recommendations for the Government and Members of Parliament

The Right to Information Bill, 2014, a progressive law and a welcome departure from FoI 2002 may require a careful review by public representatives to ensure effective implementation of the right to information. Legislators must ensure compliance with Pakistan’s international obligations and regional best practices before passage of the draft law.

Following are some of the key recommendations:

1. The Government is urged to present to the Parliament the draft RTI Bill for passage and to swiftly promulgate the law after its approval. Parliament is urged to pass the draft RTI law under consideration at the Federal level at the earliest.

2. Following best practices on effective implementation of the legislation is a good starting point towards putting in place a regime but the Pakistan Information Commission, an independent statutory body responsible for implementation of the law, would also have to monitor implementation progress made by the executive.

3. The draft Bill empowers the Government to remove difficulties in implementation under Section 39 and to make rules under Section 40 for carrying out the purpose of this law. Without framing of rules, the law cannot be enforced or implemented consistently or effectively. Both these powers must not rest entirely with the Federal Government and instead the Government should frame rules in consultation with the Pakistan Information Commission.

4. The Information Commission must be empowered to be independent and impartial, thereby also ensuring a stronger appeals process. There should be stronger requirements on expertise for Commissioners and prohibitions to prevent those with strong political or official links from being appointed.

5. Individuals who have been removed from the position of Commissioner should have the right to appeal against this before the courts. A clause may be added in the draft law stating that members of the Commission shall not be removed during their terms of office except in the manner prescribed in Article 209 of the Constitution.

6. RTI applications should be made available in local languages as well and designated officers should be trained on assisting the applicants and complainants.

7. A timeframe of three working days should be established for providing a receipt acknowledging a request.

8. The definition of the types of entities which are to be treated as public bodies for purposes of the law must cover political parties as well.

9. The parliamentary institutions can set an example of proactive dissemination of information. The Parliament Secretariats and Parliamentary Parties should guarantee media access to important documents and material. In this regard, both Houses of the Parliament have begun sharing of legislators’ attendance records online.

10. Exclusions and exemptions should be limited and the public bodies and officers should give a clear explanation for rejecting an application. In case of the application being ignored, penalties should be imposed.

11. Adoption of technology and computerization for information retrieval should be mandatory and within a given timeframe, while access to information online must be as simple as possible to facilitate the complainant. This could be implemented by following the positive example of India, where video conferencing is scheduled and necessary arrangements are made for the interactive session between the requester and the authorities. We can also install the equipment at tehsil level, so that complaints can be decided in one day fixed for hearing without any adjournments to a future date.

 

References:

[1]. Published in the Gazette of Pakistan Extraordinary Pages 1564-1571 on 26-10-2012 Ordinance # XCVI of 2002

[2]. (SRO: 514(1)/2004 gazetted on June 18, 2004.

[3]. 19A: “Every citizen shall have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law”.

[4]. The Centre for Law and Democracy: Note on the draft Right to Information Act of Pakistan, at: http://www.law-democracy.org/live/wpcontent/uploads/2015/07/Pakistan.RTI_.Note_.Jul151.pdf

[5]. Center for International Environmental Law vs. Office of the United States Trade Representative et al. (Civil Action No. 01-498) before the US District Court for the District of Columbia

[6]. “UN SDGTalks Continue; Access Clause Still There”, Freedomofinfo.org, July 23, 2015 at: http://www.freedominfo.org/2015/07/un-sdg-talkscontinue-access-clause-stll-there/

[7]. PILDAT Background Paper on More Effective Right to Information Legislation and its Implementation in Pakistan: http://www.pildat.org/publications/publication/FOI/MoreEffectiveRighttoInformationLegislationinPakistan_BackgroundPaper.pdf

[8]. “No Private Republic” published in The Indian Express at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/no-provate-republic/

[9]. Briefing Paper 2010 prepared by Simi T.B., Madhu Sudan Sharma & George Cheriyan of and for CUTS International: http://www.cutsinternational.org/cart/pdf/Analysing_the_Right_to_Information_Act_in_India.pdf

[10]. Compendium on best practices of RTI-Volume1: http://rti.gov.in/compendium_online.pdf

[11]. Indian Institute Of Public Administration, Good Practices Relating to RTI Implementation in India – Sapna Chadah: http://www.iipa.org.in/www/iipalibrary/transparentgovernance.iipalibrary.in/rti_implementation.html#advntg

[12]. Open Society Justice Initiative: Transparency and Silence – A Survey of Access to Information Laws and Practices in 14 Countries: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/summary_20060929_0.pdf

[13]. Right to information and its impact on Access to Archives – Issues and challenges before the Archivists & Record Managers – A case Study of India 2013 Dr. Meena Gautam, National Archives of India: http://www.ica.org/download.php?id=3117

[14]. Right to Information and its Relationship to Good Governance and Development- M. M. Ansari, Central Information Commission New Delhi: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Events/IC-MA-LectureAtUNESCO-04122008.pdf

 

This brief has been originally published by PILDAT and can be accessed at : http://www.pildat.org/Publications/publication/FOI/LB_TheRighttoInformationBill2014.pdf 

For reference, the Draft RTI Bill can be accssed at: http://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bill.15.07.12.pdf

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization with which she might be associated.

Anoosha Shaigan

The writer is a student of LLM in Computer & Communications Law at Queen Mary. She is an Advocate of the High Court and a certified Legislative Drafter who has been working on legal and political reforms in human rights, international law, gender justice and legal innovation for over 10 years with various ministries, government departments and international organizations. She serves as the Vice President of CourtingTheLaw and CEO of Advoguette, and manages various initiatives that leverage technology to improve access to justice. She is a former Member of Youth Parliament Pakistan (PILDAT) and has authored the Legislative Brief on the Right To Information Bill for Parliament and the Federal Cabinet. She has been recognized as a Global Shaper for Pakistan by the World Economic Forum and holds an elected position on the Governance and Accountability Council. She has also been nominated as a Young Political Leader by the US Department of State and served as an Official Observer at the US Presidential Election in 2016.