This commission maintains that whether or not Acts of the Parliament and subordinate legislation be disclosed has already been settled by Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan. In constitutional petition 39 of 2019, Juris Foundation through Chairman VS Federal Government through Secretary, Ministry of Defence, the Hon’ble Supreme Court said: “Acts of the Parliament or subordinate legislation are public documents and must be readily available to the citizen of the country subject to the exceptions provided under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. Those exceptions extend only to record relating to defence forces, defence installations or connected therewith and ancillary to defence and national security, and not to the Army Laws”.
This commission holds that the requested information pertaining to the Act, Rules and Regulations governing retirement benefits of Army officers is public under Section 5 (1) (b) of the Act, 2017 which Secretary, Ministry of Defence as its Principal Officer was legally bound to proactively publish on the web site.
This commission holds that the plea of the Respondent that records governing retirement benefits of Army officers be treated as belonging to excluded records does not hold water on three grounds. Firstly, as observed earlier, these records pertain to categories of records to be proactively published under Section 5 (1) (b) and (e) of the Act, 2017. Secondly, the Act, Rules and Regulations governing retirement benefits of Army officers have no nexus with defence preparedness. Thirdly, Act, Rules and Regulations governing retirement benefits of Army officers pertain to the welfare activities which are not excluded under Section 7 (e)of the Act, 2017.