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Consultative Meeting on Right to Know Day

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05 October, 2010 -

Citizens' Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) and National Information Commission (NIC) jointly organized a Consultative Meeting on the occasion of International Right to Know Day on 28th September in Kathmandu. Top level government officials including Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister Mr. Lilamani Paudyal, Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Mr. Madhav Paudel, Secretary of the Law Commission Mr. Mohan Banjade, Chairman of Administrative Court Mr. Kashiraj Dahal, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Mr. Narayan Regmi and Deputy Attorney General Mr. Pusparaj Koirala had participated in the program. Similarly, Chairperson of CCRI Mr. Taranath Dahal, Executive Director of CCRI Santosh Sigdel, RTI Activist Mr. Baburam Aryal, Commissioners of NIC Mr. Shree Acharya and Ms. Sabita Bandari Baral and other officials of the National Information Commission had participated in the program.

 

In the meeting chaired by the Chief Information Commissioner Mr. Vinaya Kasajoo Secretary of the National Information Commission Ms. Bindra Bhattarai Hada presented a paper on current status and challenges of NIC. The meeting was organized to exchange experience of NIC with the top level government officials and to discuss current problems being faced in the implementation of the right to information. After three years of enactment of the Right to Information Act 2007, the picture of implementation is found gloomy. The meeting also discussed about the information classification guideline issued by the Classification Committee created under the RTI Act.

 

Civil society members expressed their dissatisfaction about the lack of the government initiative for the implementation of the right to information law. They argued that the government assumed fulfilling its duty after enactment of the law and is indifferent towards implementation as no government agency is made responsible to supervise the implementation of the Act. They suggested the government to create such agency so that the implementation goes smoothly. Further, they questioned the legitimacy of the classification guideline which consists of adverse provisions and goes beyond the limitation set by the Act.

 

Secretary of OPMCM Mr. Lilamani Paudyal agreed that there are some problems in the classification and intimated the meeting that the government is ready to review the classification. Participants in the meeting also expressed that the provision on whistleblower in the RTI Act is weak and there is a need for a separate whistleblower law so that the officials do not fear the administrative consequences for releasing the information. He further assured that the government is ready to amend the Right to Information Act to resolve the problems encountered during the implementation.