Look beyond right to services,implement other citizen-friendly laws: activists

  • Prajakta Chavan Rane, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 03, 2014 16:13 IST

With the newly formed state government announcing on Friday that it would bring in the Right to Services legislation to ensure timely services by government agencies to citizens, social activists are demanding implementation of other citizen-friendly laws.

In addition to the efficient working of the Lokayukta, activists have asked for stringent implementation of an act that will give citizens the right to public grievance redressal, as well as the Whistleblowers Protection Act.

“The Right to Information (RTI) Act empowers citizens with information, but doesn’t address their grievances. For this, the state government should develop a separate mechanism. An authority needs to be instituted to ensure timely grievance redressal for citizens,” said Shailesh Gandhi, former Central information commissioner.

The Whistleblowers Protection Act protects those who are often easy targets of those on the wrong side of the law. Some activists said that strict implementation of the existing Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005 should take precedence over enactment of the Right to Services legislation. Both propose to ensure timely government services to citizens.

Activists also expressed disappointment over the workings of the state Lokayukta. “The number of complaints addressed to the state Lokayukta is dwindling, because people lack confidence. The body has adequate powers, but they should be used effectively,” said Gandhi.

“We will approach both the state and Centre to expedite the implementation of the acts,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, RTI activist.

Ashish Shelar, Mumbai BJP chief, said, “The government, under the new CM, will consider the points raised by activists, in order to run a zero-corruption government. We will also take the suggestions made by the activists into consideration.”

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