Not CM, set up Commission for Right to Services: GPF

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 05 May 2013 15:04 IST

Goa People’s Forum has demanded a neutral Commission, instead of Chief Minister, on the lines of Central and Uttarakhand Rights to Services Acts to adjudicate grievances arising out of fines imposed by the minister or the chief secretary.

The Goa (Right of Citizens To Time-Bound Delivery of Public Services) Bill, passed in the just concluded Assembly session, defines chief minister as the final authority for any grievances; not even the court.

Ad Satish Sonak, the GPF convenor, opines that a mechanism for two appeals and one revision should be provided in the Goa Bill on the lines of the Central and Uttarakhand legislation, to make it citizen-friendly.

According to Sonak, provision for second appeal and revisions exists in most of the states, but Goans have been deprived of these opportunities.

Consequently wrong orders of the first appellate authority are feared to go unchallenged, thus affecting the efficacy of the Act, he says.

In fact he demands a neutral Commission, like Uttarakhand Right to Services Commission, which is empowered to take suo-moto notice of the failure to deliver services.

The Commission can even carry out inspection of offices entrusted with delivery of services and offices of appellate authority and can also recommend departmental action against any officer and employee, who has failed in due discharge of the function.

The Uttarakhand Commission also has powers to recommend additional notifications and to suggest modification to the notifications for better implementation of the Act.

 

“The Goa act otherwise will remain a half-hearted measure, if these provisions of neutral adjudication are not incorporated instead of giving these powers to the chief minister”, Sonak told goanews.com.

The GPF has also lamented that implementation of legislation like time-bound services guarantee act was passed on the last couple of days of one-and-a-half-month session while depriving an opportunity to civil society of giving their valuable inputs.

“Naturally the bill was passed without a debate since the people's representatives were not able to reflect the people's concern and make constructive suggestions on such an important legislation,” he observed.

Sonak also suggested a proviso, as proposed in the central legislation, a date to issue notification to enforce the act, within six months after Governor gives his assent to the bill.

“There are number of enacted legislations which have remained only on paper, because notifications to make them effective were never issued,” he observed.

It would be ironical if time-limit is not stipulated for enforcement of the Act, which promises to deliver time-bound public services, said the GPF convenor.

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Adv. Satish Sonak has made valid points.

This should not be another notification which remains only on paper.

Instead of hurrying through such important legislation, opportunity should have been given to the civil society for giving their valuable inputs.

Such inputs would help to cover some loopholes.

- Francisco, Goa | 06 th May 2013 14:56

 

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