Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gujarat HC notice to Assembly on PIL for disclosure of proceedings

IANS | December 22, 2020 02:23 PM

GANDHI:The Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the Gujarat Legislative Secretariat on a PIL demanding that the Assembly proceedings and functioning be proactively disclosed and its details be posted on the Assembly's website under the RTI Act.

A division bench, headed by Justice J.B. Pardiwala, issued a notice to the state Assembly Secretariat on Monday, while hearing the petition filed by Neeta Hardikar and Siddharth Pathak, representing a group of social activists.

The PIL contends that for the Gujarat Assembly, it is mandatory to disclose the proceedings that take place in the house on the Assembly's website in Gujarati as well as English. The state Assembly is not posting details on it, the way other state assemblies have been doing, it said.

The PIL also seeks live telecast of the house proceedings and regular posting of transcripts, papers that are laid or to be laid, private members' business, zero hour, list of questions and their answers, text of debates.

The petitioners demanded posting of text of legislations that are passed, pending, assented, lapsed, withdrawn and negatived by the Assembly be put up on its website.

Through the PIL, the petitioners have demanded information on the Assembly Secretariat committees and summary of their work and reports. They also want the Assembly website to be updated with the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records held by it or under its control or used by the Assembly for discharging its functions.

The PIL says, "Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act Right lists obligations of public authorities, mandates proactive disclosure of public affairs and thus not complying with it is a serious violation of the principles of democracy and the Constitutional rights of the petitioners."

"Non-availability of this information violates democratic and Constitutional rights of the people of Gujarat to view and understand the work undertaken by their elected representatives," the PIL states.

The petitioners submitted that the PIL was filed "in the spirit of democracy, transparency, accountability, Constitutional guarantee for availability of information and the mandate under the Right to Information Act for the citizens of India."


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