Karachi, October 22, 2020 (PPI-OT):Transparency International Pakistan condemns the efforts to pass Right of Access to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which has been moved as a private member bill in the Senate of Pakistan, declaring it unconstitutional, and against the interests of the people of Pakistan, and will cause serious damage to Pakistan efforts to combat Corruption, and will have negative impact on CPI of Pakistan in 2022, said Sohail Muzaffar, Chairman TI Pakistan.
Chairman said the Article 19-A of the constitution makes the right to access of information pertaining to a public authority a fundamental right and to hold them answerable, were the remarks of LHC Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah in 2010, quoted below in judgment of PLD 2010 Lahore 605.
“Right to information is another corrective tool which allows public access to the working and decision making of the public authorities. It opens the working of public administration to public scrutiny. This necessitates transparent and structured exercise of discretion by the public functionaries. Article 19-A empowers the civil society of this country to seek information from public institutions and hold them answerable.”
The said amendment bill, if enacted by the Parliament, Sohail Muzaffar said, will limit the scope of the right to information law by excluding Parliament from the definition of public bodies, which are bound to provide information to citizens.
Sohail Muzaffar, Chairman also said that it shall be known that RTI/FOI act was passed in Sweden 254 years ago, in 1766, when the struggle for increased openness resulted in the adoption of the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Among other things, the Act regulated the publicity of official documents and enumerated a number of such documents which could be printed freely by anyone, for example the documents of the Parliament, the courts, and the civil service. Anyone who so claimed could obtain access to such documents and should have a right to copy the documents on the premises of the keeper or to receive certified copies of them.
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