Panaji: The Goa State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Prashant Tendolkar allowed a complaint filed over the non-compliance of the Right to Information Act by the Goa Raj Bhavan.
In his order, the Goa CIC has granted plea that the Goa Raj Bhavan forthwith appoint a public information officer and also make the mandatory disclosures under Section 4 (1) of the RTI as required by law.
In the complaint filed under section 18 (1) (a) of the RTI Act Advocate Aires Rodrigues has drawn the attention of the Goa State Information Commission that the Goa Raj Bhavan despite being a ‘public authority’ in terms of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act has not appointed a Public Information Officer (PIO) for members of the public to be able to seek information and that the Goa Raj Bhavan has also not made the mandatory disclosures required under section 4 (1) of the RTI Act.
Rodrigues has stated that as the Goa Raj Bhavan is covered under the definition of public authority, the failure to appoint a PIO was illegal, very high-handed, mala fide and without reasonable cause.
He has further stated that it was very deplorable that the Goa Raj Bhavan instead of leading by example has been scuttling an Act which was enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government and that the high-handed conduct of the Goa Raj Bhavan was unacceptable while it cannot be allowed to breach its constitutional obligation of having to comply with the law.
Pointing out that with the exception of Goa all other Raj Bhavans across the country and even the Rastrapathi Bhavan are complying with the RTI Act, Rodrigues in his complaint has stated that instead of strengthening the transparency law, the Goa Raj Bhavan has allowed it to be weakened and it was imperative that this veil of secrecy be lifted so that there could be public scrutiny into the affairs and working of the Goa Raj Bhavan. [NT]