Kathmandu - Complaints have been lodged against 699 local level information officials not providing public information.
These complaints have been sent to the office chiefs of the related offices by post at the initiatives of Freedom Forum, a non-governmental organization working in the field of freedom of expression and the right to information for long, coinciding with the National Information Day.
Information had been sought from 753 local levels across the country and only 54 furnished it, according to the Freedom Forum (FF). The complaints have been registered against the information officers of 699 local levels in accordance with the Right to Information Act, 2064 after they did not give the information neglecting the right to information.
The Freedom Forum had sought information on issues of public interest with all the local level executive offices in the country aiming to creating an environment for constructive and trustworthy participation between the citizens and the local governments so as to promote transparency and accountability in the local governments.
FF chairman Hari Binod Adhikari, executive chief Taranath Dahal, former president of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and FF general secretary Dharmendra Jha, advocates Ram Maya Lamichhane and Sanjeev Ghimire, FF treasurer Kedar Dahal and journalist Krishna Prasad Sapkota, among others, had sought with the local levels the certified copies of information and details of public importance for the purpose of study and information, in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution of Nepal and Clause 3 and 7 (1) of the Right to Information Act, 2064. However, 699 local levels failed to provide them with the information they had sought.
Information regarding whether or not information officers have been assigned in the local level as required by the law, if the 20 various types of information that have to be voluntarily made public every three months have been made public or not and in what manner, whether public hearings are held or not in the offices as per the Good Governance Act, 2064 and if the local level executive offices have formulated any guidelines, policies or laws regarding managing the office information, among other topics.
Likewise, information was sought from the local levels regarding whether they have kept the Citizen Charter at their offices, whether they have their website or not and whether or not the property details of the elected office-bearers and the staff been collected, the amount of budget that they have set aside for construction of office buildings and other works been made public, and whether or not they had the policy of placing a hoarding board at the project site mentioning the details of the project and its cost for the projects implemented by the office, and whether or not the office has put in place any legal or policy structure for ensuring the public participation in its works, including other topics.
Complaint against TU information officer
A complaint has also been filed against the information officer at the Tribhuvan University Registrar's Office after the officer failed to provide the information sought.
The complaint has been filed at the TU Vice Chancellor's Office today as the information officer failed to provide information regarding the team deputed from the TU central office taking dual facilities while carrying out internal auditing at 60 constituent campuses under the university.
Information sought from Home Ministry
Meanwhile, advocate Asmita Pokharel and RTI campaigner Kumar Chaulagain today sought information with the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the status of the case related to the forced disappearance of Kanchanpur-based journalist Prakash Singh Thakuri and which body was looking after the case. Journalist Thakuri had gone missing during the Maoist armed conflict period. The information has been sought at the initiation of the Freedom Forum.