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Guidelines for Suo Motu Disclosure by Central Government Ministries/Departments and Public Authorities Issued

Government has issued guidelines for suo motu disclosure by Central Government Ministries/Departments and Public Authorities thereunder. These guidelines are based on the recommendation of the Task Force set up by the Government for strengthening compliance with provisions for suo motu (proactive) disclosure as given in Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005. This task force includes the members of Civil Society, Central Government Ministries/Departments, and the State Governments.

The guidelines are on the following points: –

a) Suo motu disclosure of more items under Section 4 This includes detailed guidelines on proactive disclosure of information related to procurement, public private partnerships, transfer policy and transfer orders, RTI applications received and their responses, CAG and PAC paras, citizens charter and Discretionary and Non discretionary grants.

b) Guidelines for digital publication of proactive disclosure to ensure that the Government websites™ disclosure is complete, easily accessible, technology and platform neutral and user friendly.

c) Detailing of few sub-clauses of Section 4 (1)(b) of the RTI Act regarding publishing of information by the public authority viz the procedure followed in the decision making process, norms set by the public authority for the discharge of its functions, the budget allocated to each of its agency and details in respect of information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form.

Compliance mechanism for suo motu disclosure under the RTI Act, 2005 includes yearly audit of proactive disclosure made by the Ministry/Department by a third party, examination of such audit report and offering advice/recommendation by the Central Information Commission and inclusion of compliance details in the annual report of the Ministry/Department.

Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 lays down the information which should be disclosed by Public Authorities on a suo motu or proactive basis. The purpose of suo motu disclosure is to place large amount of information in public domain on a proactive basis to make the functioning of the Public Authorities more transparent and also to reduce the need for filing individual RTI applications.

Since the promulgation of the Act in 2005, large amount of information relating to functioning of the government is being put in public domain. However, the quality and quantity of proactive disclosures are being raised to the desired level.

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Tags: Central Information CommissionCivil SocietyGovernmentIftikhar Muhammad ChaudhryKarachiRight to Information ActSuo motuTask Force

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