NOVEMBER 13, 2008  The National Information Commission (NIC) has provided the information about Chief Commissioner and Commissioners’ property details, association and responsibility in other organization, political involvement, income source and monthly remuneration in NIC on November 5 and 6. However, the NIC has not provided information in appropriate format and time which contravenes the provisions enshrined in the RTI Act-2007.

The NIC provided information after 14 days of the registration of appeal misinterpreting it as the first application. It is the clear violation of the Act, which has clear provision that information should be provided within 15 days of the registration of first application and 7 days of the appeal.

Similarly, information regarding the property details of Commissioners was provided in a straight way but copies of evidence were not given.

According to the information provided by Chief Commissioner Binaya Kasaju, he admitted that he has been clearly involved as general members in FNJ, Grameen Bikas, Palpa, Bal Sahitya Samaj, INSEC, Sanchar Adhikar Kendra and advisors in various radios on volunteer basis.

Likewise, he is found to be a regular columnist in “Budhabar”-a weekly newspaper which is being published from Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Headquarters in Balhu, kathmandu.

Commissioner Shree Acharya is found to be affiliated in FNJ as central council member while another Commissioner Sabita Bhandari Baral is associated to Nepal Bar Association and IPLO as Treasurer and Executive Member in Helpless Service Centre. It comes to know that she is carrying on her profession in litigation also.

Has not it raised the question of neutrality, judicial conscience and transparency of NIC while the persons discharging their responsibility as Commissioners in judicial body are working being associated to other organization? Freedom Forum wishes a massive discussion to begin in connection with these issues.

The NIC apparently ignored the first application registered by Krishna Pokharel on October 3, 2008 on behalf of Freedom Forum seeking information about commissioners under the above-mentioned headings.

The Forum registered appeal on October 22 when the NIC did not provide information in the proper medium and format as demanded. The NIC responded the first application only on October 19 after 16 days of registration of application stating that the information is posted on its official website. It is the clear violation of RTI Act as on the one hand information should be provided within 15 days on the other it was not provided in right medium.

We conclude that the NIC breached the procedures and essence of the RTI, dillydallying to provide information and making information disclosure procedures more complicated. The serious question raised as how will this body regulate the RTI Act and facilitate information seekers when it violates the rules and ignores the essence and significance of application.

The Commission is the authorized body to take proactive measures for the promotion Right to Information (RTI) culture and to dispense justice when public concern information are not provided on demand.

Freedom Forum wishes that NIC should become a role model to propel information culture and to promote culture of transparency, neutrality and judicial conscience, and also pledges to support NIC for this. We are ready to provide the information furnished by the Commissioners in various headings on demand.

For more information,
Freedom Forum
01-4102030/ 4102022