ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Information Commission has held that citizens in no case are required to provide reasons for seeking information from the government departments under the Right of Access to Information Act.
In a verdict, PIC in pursuance of an appeal of Zeenat Bibi, a local resident, has directed that Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, to provide the minutes of board meetings and complete details of budget utilization for the span of period from 10 August to 30 September 2020 within seven working days to the citizen.
Earlier, the appellant informed the commission that he had received a letter from the respondent asking the appellant to come to their office personally.
The commission observed that the respondent’s response with uncalled queries and asking the appellant to appear in person is nothing but an effort to linger and delay the matter through written correspondence giving the impression of non-cooperative behaviour.
This sort of evasive behaviour is not confidence inspiring rather is against the spirit of the Act. The public bodies instead creating bureaucratic technical obstacles must adopt the procedure of faster track provided in the Act to ensure the delivery of information within the time limit mentioned in the Act. The Act in itself is comprehensive and unambiguous in its interpretation. The request that identifies the information in sufficient detail is a proper and valid request, leaving no room for any further details.
The commission warned the Islamabad Wildlife Board to be careful in future in provision of the information to the citizens as to deliberate and wilful obstruction in the activity of the Commission causing prevention and delay in the disclosure of information, warranting imposition of fine under section 20(f) of the Act.