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Key Responsibilities Of Federal Public Bodies

Key responsibilities of federal public bodies are as under:

Designation of Public Information Officers

All public bodies must designate public information officers within 30 days of the Act coming into effect, and proactively disseminate information about their contact details through websites, notice-boards and other media. The public information officers are responsible for responding to requests filed by citizens and bear burden of proof with regard to decision on a request for information before Pakistan Information Commission. Public Information Officers are also responsible for assisting persons with disabilities in filing request for information.

Management of Public Records

Section 4 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 makes it obligatory’ for the principal officer of each public body to ensure that record held by that body is properly maintained, so as to enable it to comply with its obligation under this Act“. It also directs that “Each public body shall bring its record management practices in line with the secretariat instruction, 2004 or any other instructions of the Federal Government”.

Proactive Disclosure of Information

Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 pertains to the ‘Publication and the Availability of the Record’ and its sub-section (1) is as under:

The principal officer of each public body shall, within six months of the commencement of this Act, ensure that the following categories of the information and record are duly published including uploading over the internet or in a manner which best ensures that these are accessible subject to reasonable restrictions based on limited resources.

Information to be proactively shared  is as under:

a) Description of the public body’s organization and functions, duties, powers and any services it provides to the public, including a directory and any services it provides to the public, including a directory of its officers and employees, indicating their duties that these are accessible subject to reasonable restrictions based on limited resources;

b) Statutes, statutory rules, regulations, bye-laws, orders and notifications, etc. applicable to the public body disclosing the date of their respective commencement or effect

c) Substantive or procedural rules of the general application evolved or adopted by the public body, including any manual or policies by its employees

d) Relevant facts and background information relating to important policies and decisions which have been adopted, along with a statement of policies adopted by the public body and the criteria, standards or guidelines upon which discretionary powers are exercised by it;

e) The condition upon which members of the public body can acquire any license, permit, consent, approval, grant, allotment or other benefits of whatsoever nature from any public body or upon which transactions, agreements and contracts, including, contracts of employment which can be entered into with the public body, along with particulars about the recipients of any concession, permit, license or authorization granted by the public body

f) A description of its decision making processes as defined in the Federal government’s secretariat instructions, 2004 and any instructions for the time being in force for the public to provide any input into or be consulted about decisions;

g)  Detailed budget of the public body; including proposed and actual expenditures, original or revised revenue targets, actual revenue, receipts, revision in the approved budget and the supplementary budget;

h) The methods whereby information in the possession or control of the public body may be obtained and the prescribed fee required along with the name, title and contact details of the designated officials;

i) Reports including performance reports, audit reports, evaluation reports, inquiry or investigative reports and other reports that have been finalized

j) Such other matters which the principal officer of the public body deems fit to be published in the public interest

k) Such other information as may be prescribed ; and

l) Camera footages at public places, wherever available, which have a bearing a crime:

Provided that it the information or record pertains to a period earlier than the year 2008. The same shall be published within reasonable time.

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