Right to Information Bill 2016 passed by Senate

Right to Information Bill 2016 passed by Senate

ISLAMABAD: Senate Select Committee, yesterday, unanimously adopted the Right to Information (RTI) Bill 2016 tabled by the government as it made mandatory upon the state institutions concerned to provide information about the missing persons within three days.

The RTI bill is aimed at replacing the Freedom of Information Ordinance at the federal level. The proposed law recognises citizens’ right to know under the Constitution and to have access to information about the activities of the government.

Under the law, a three-member commission will be formed to hear the case of RTI request and it will take into account requests up to 20 years as the record older than 20 years will automatically pass into the public domain. The three-member commission with the power to order public bodies to disclose information and provide records hear the RTI requests.

The commission will consist of three members: once each from the judiciary, bureaucracy and civil society.

During the preliminary meeting held here under Senator Farhatullah Babar of PPP, members of the committee reviewed the bill clause-by-clause and unanimously adopted all amendments and recommendations.

Senator FarhatUllah Babar was of the view that the draft law would greatly help citizens in securing the maximum information and would also go a long away in addressing the issue of missing persons.

He maintained that under the emphasis of the bill, there would be no exemption regarding human right issues or corruption in the guise of national security.

Senator Babar remarked that in case a person was picked and killed by security agencies, the agencies would no longer be able to use ‘national security’ as an excuse not to provide information on the matter. Penal action will be taken against members of the commission in case they deliberately destroy any records.

A standing committee of the Senate and the National Assembly will have the authority to remove members of the commission.