Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR), which has been actively campaigning for The Right of Citizens for Grievance Redress and Service Guarantee in Meghalaya, the MRPSA is a law fraught with the problems of conception and drafting, on Sunday reiterated its demand for the state government to place The Meghalaya Right to Public Services Act (MRPSA), 2020 in the public domain before passing it in the current Assembly’s autumn session.
“A law which is supposed to bring transparency and accountability of the public authorities for the citizens was placed in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly without any pre-legislative consultation. This lack of consultation is now apparent in the draft bill, which in its drafting is full of legal loopholes and is designed to frustrate citizens in redressing their grievances,” TUR leader, Angela Rangad said in a statement.
She said implementation of MRPSA, 2020 is left on the whims and fancies of the governmental bureaucratic structure adding it does not for instance mandate that all public authorities shall come under its preview.
“Only certain services which the government notifies from time to time will come under this law. This is dangerous. For instance, will the Mining Department come under this law? Or, PWD’s payment of contractor’s bill or Planning Department or the Tourism Department looking after a rural tourism project? The law is intentionally silent about such questions,” she said.
Most glaringly, Rangad said MRPSA, 2020 is silent about the nature of Public Service rights the public authority has to publicly share. “In other similar laws which are in operation in the states like Delhi, such citizen’s rights have to be put in the public domain as Citizen’s Charters. By omitting from the principal act, the overall framework under which such information about the Rights/Citizen’s Charter, MRPSA 2020 is a law with minimal application and is open to executive misuse,” she stated.
Meanwhile, TUR demanded that the MRPSA 2020 will have to be amended to rectify its drafting and legal mistakes.
But TUR demands that such an amendment should be properly discussed and put in the public domain to have a law that brings all public authorities under its purview, Rangad said.
It will also ensure service delivery should include not only a timeframe but quality of services and entitlement of citizens, citizens should get a right for timebound redressal of their grievances, every Public authority by law should be made to publish a citizen’s charter and update it regularly. Failure to publicise the Citizen’s charter and update it should also be penalised, she said. EOM