Commission wants all laws congruent...
LAHORE: The Punjab Information Commission has advised the provincial government to amend all laws and rules that disallow disclosure of information as they are in conflict with Article 19-A ofthe Constitution and the right to information law.[TOP]
`Any provisions in laws and rules, which put restrictions on disclosure of information and are in conflict with Article 19-A of the Constitution and the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, are redundant and without any legal effect and, therefore, must be reviewed and amended for the clarity of government officers and to ensure smooth transaction of official work, the commission has said.
The commission has given the directionand the ruling while disposing of a petition filed by a citizen seel(ing certain information from the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE). While allowing the petition, the commission has maintained that the right to information has become a fundamental right of each citizen of Pakistan since the inclusion of Article 19-A in the Constitution.
Furthermore, the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 is a special law, which has overriding ef fect in view of its section 24 over the provisions of allother provincial laws for the time being in force.
Therefore, access to information under a special law with overriding effect cannot be denied by referring to the provisions of other laws or subordinate legislation such as the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment Rules 2014.
Since the insertion of Article 19-A of the Constitution and enactment of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, access to information can only be denied if its disclosure is lil(ely to cause harm to any of the interests protected under section 13 of the Act.
`We have reviewed the application of the complainant and are of the view that disclosure of requested information is not exempt under section 13 of the Act. Therefore, all of the requested information, duly certified, should be provided to the complainant as soon as possible but not later than Feb 2,` the commission declares.
It has advised the ACE DG and the chief secretary to take immediate steps to initiate the process of amending those sections in the laws and rules, which are inconsistent with Article 19-A of the Constitution and provisions of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013.