DIMAPUR, June 9 - After being denied relevant information as to how 13 leaders of the People’s Democratic Alliance were recently appointed as Cabinet ministers and ministers of state in Nagaland, the Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) has decided to approach the Central Information Commission (CIC) for necessary action as provided under Sections 18 (1) (b) and (c) of the RTI Act, 2005.
The forum also sought to know in an RTI application sent to the State Chief Secretary’s Office on May 7 about the facilities provided to these 13 party leaders and whether the facilities provided to them fell under the purview of Section 21 of the IPC and whether the appointments outwitted Article 164 (1A).
In a press release on Saturday, the forum said it was informed by the Public Information Officer of the Chief Secretary’s Office that the RTI application was forwarded to the Cabinet Secretariat on May 8. However, the forum rued that no information has been provided by the State Government till date, which is a violation of the RTI Act.
The forum also asked the departments of land resource, public health engineering and rural development not to make any further delay in filing replies to the applications filed under the RTI Act on May 7 as the mandatory period of filing a reply within one month of receiving an application ended on June 7. It warned that the failure to furnish information by the departments would be taken up with CIC.
The forum explained that the decision to bypass the first appellate authority and the State Information Commission office was due to the fact that it did not have any confidence in them. The forum pointed out that it had approached the State Information Commission on May 24, 2016 after the Home Department denied information on the report of the High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by former Supreme Court judge HK Sema. However, to this day, the information has been denied under various pretexts by the State Government, it added.
The Nagaland Government on August 5, 2014 constituted a four-member HPC led by Sema to look into the issue of illegal and multiple taxation in the State as per complaints received from public and civil societies and to go into the genesis of the causes and conditions that facilitated “such harmful practices” and identity those behind them.