The commission held that all the letters issued by NCRC to Federal and Provincial Governments are public documents and their certified copies be provided to the Appellant. These letters will reveal information about steps and initiatives taken by NCRC to protect and promote rights of the children in accordance with its mandate.
The commission also maintained that the reply submitted by the Respondent, NCRC that “consultation meetings with various authorities of the Federal and Provincial Governments” is vague. Minutes of official meetings are kept to record the proceedings of such meetings and these minutes should be made public so that citizens could know as to how many meetings, at what level of the federal and provincial governments these meetings were held and what transpired during these meetings, for, these meetings are held with funds provided by the citizens of Pakistan. Similarly, records in the shape of documents, reports and letters sent to federal and provincial governments pertaining to the review of the policies are public documents and should have been shared with the Appellant.
While the web site of the NCRC is not ready, it should have shared with the Appellant any record indicating steps taken, like domain registration and hosting services contacted for the launch of the web site with the Appellant.
The commission also held that draft Rules should not be treated as ‘intermediary opinions’ and thus exempted from disclosure. The draft Rules cannot be treated as a record whose premature disclosure may hinder frank and candid internal discussion. In fact, draft Rules should be shared with citizens and experts so that they could give input on the draft Rules to make these Rules effective. Furthermore, sharing of draft Rules will help achieve the objective of public participation in the affairs of governance as enunciated in the Right of Access to Information Act 2017.