//RTI Act in Kerala: directive issued to heads of departments

RTI Act in Kerala: directive issued to heads of departments

The Hindu, Nov 24, 2006

Thiruvananthapuram: The Chief Secretary has given a 15-day ultimatum to all heads of departments to appoint assistant public information officers and State public information officers as the case may be in all offices, establishments and administrative units under them as mandated by the Right to Information Act.

An official statement said here on Thursday that the Chief Secretary issued a circular directing all heads of Government departments, district Collectors, local bodies, public sector undertakings and other institutions that come under the definition of public authorities to display the names and telephone numbers of the designated officers and appellate officers in the prescribed performa in their respective offices and the Government websites, besides publishing in the media.

In smaller offices, the department concerned was free to appoint only information officer, depending on the workload.

The State assistant public information officers, who are not authorised to take decision on appeals, are required to hand over all such cases to the appellate officers and the State public information officers within five days, the statement said.

The authorities have been directed to appoint appellate officers as per requirements and these officers should be of higher grade.

An appellate officer at the taluk or district level will handle appellate cases of small administrative units, the circular said.

The Chief Secretary also directed all Government heads to ensure compliance of the circular and codify and publish all relevant information regarding their respective departments.

Besides, the information should be updated from time to time, the statement said.