How abrogation of special status has weakened the RTI regime of Jammu and Kashmir?

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After started functioning on October 31, around 150 central laws including Act, 2005 became applicable in J&K as well as in Ladakh. Earlier Act 2005 was not applicable to public authorities of J&K but only to organizations of central government in J&K.

In accordance to J&K RTI Act 2009 (now repealed), the State Information Commission was constituted for the first time in 2011 with Chief Commissioner Income Tax North India Mr GR Sufi as its first State Chief Information Commissioner and which was followed by selecting two more commissioners under him. J&K State Information Commission was in action till 5th August, 2019 and was shut down as RTI of J&K was repealed.

Now RTI Act 2005 (currently applicable to J&K) has a provision for setting up of State Information Commission as well as Central Information Commission but J&K (now Union Territory) are not allowed to set up an independent Information Commission under RTI Act 2005.

Government had constituted a committee headed by Administrative Secretary General Administrative Department (GAD) which had to inspect whether J&K will come under the purview of Central Information Commission or it needs a separate Information Commission being a Union Territory now. They were also needed to find out whether the officers appointed as First Appellate Authorities (FAA’s) and Public Information Officers (PIO) under the repealed J&K RTI Act 2009 would be reappointed as FAA’s & CPIOs. According to media the committee have recommended applicability of Central RTI Act 2005 in J&K which means the aggrieved RTI appellants will have to file their appeals again before Central Information Commission, New Delhi and it is now going to take months and years for appeal or complaint disposal in Central Information Commission.

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