October 18, 2021

Federal RTI Law: Cantonment Board Clifton Directed To Fulfill Information Request

Islamabad — The Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has directed the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) Karachi to provide information regarding waste disposal and sanitation services within 20 working days.

In an order issued on Monday, the commission ruled on a citizen’s information request to the cantonment board under the federal right to information (RTI) law.

According to the order, Naeem Sadiq had written to the CBC to access copies of contracts the board had signed with private contractors for manual sweeping of roads and transportation of solid waste. Mr. Sadiq had also sought details about the janitorial staff employed by the CBC for sanitation services. The records were originally requested in June 2017 under the now-repealed federal information ordinance. Later, the information request was sent again under the current federal Right of Access to Information Act 2017.

In April, the PIC sent a notice to the cantonment board to explain its position. The board replied that Mr. Sadiq had approached the Sindh High Court to appeal the non-provision of information. Mr. Sadiq informed the PIC in October clarifying his position.

“We do have a court case against CBC for illegal wages to its staff,” reads the text of his email quoted in the PIC order. “This, however, has nothing to do with them providing us the requested info under RTI.”

The commission conducted a hearing on the complaint on 14 November, which was not attended by the CBC representatives.

The PIC held that the appeal cannot be dismissed on the ground of “lis alibi pendens” or dispute pending elsewhere — a legal principle to protect against contradictory judgements on the same matter from different courts — after Mr. Sadiq’s clarification of the nature of the court case. The commission stated that the requested information is permissible under sections 5(a) and 6 of the federal RTI law.

The cantonment board was directed to supply the requested records and take immediate steps to proactively share relevant information on its website. The board also has to submit a compliance report to the PIC by 18 December.

In another decision, the PIC also directed the Civil Aviation Authority to provide a satisfactory response to an information request regarding the Karachi airport. The commission has continued its work despite lack of support from the federal government.

Read the complete order below:

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Download the order [931.31 KB]

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