While the Right To Information Act (RTI) 2005 is well-known, there is another hardly-known tool available in Maharashtra called “Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2006” popularly also known as Right to Service Act or Transfers and Delays Act (RS Act). In order to bring this Act to light, Moneylife foundation held a seminar “Make the Government Work for you” on 23 May 2014 with Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner (CIC).
Mr Gandhi started the seminar by giving a brief about the foundation of the RS Act as a result of Anna Hazare’s demands, which led to the first ordinance being issued in 2003. The Act was passed in 2006 and the relevant rules came into existence in November 2013.
He went on to explain the important sections of the RS Act. One of the main harrasements faced by the common people is when arbitrary transfers and postings of government officials take place. In order to make the transfer policy transparent, section 4 of the RS Act specifies that, “The tenure of Government servants will be three years and transfers will normally be made only in April and May of each year .If an officer has to be transferred for special reasons in less than his tenure reasons have to be recorded in writing.”
“Citizens Charter” forms the soul of this act which according to Section 2 (a) means, “List of facilities or services rendered by the office or Department, together with the time limit for providing such facility or services to the general public.” This needs to be published by the every government department as this would create awareness amongst the general public as well as ensure the civil officers adhere to their deadline.
Government offices and the inexplicable delay by officials is addressed too by this act saving the common man of this misery as section 9 and 10 of the Act deal with the time specifications and strict action against any delay by the officers.
Certain cases in which the RS Act would’nt apply are listed under Section 11 which include sub-judice matters, policy decisions, cases related to state and central government, legislation etc.
Mr Gandhi ended the seminar by explaining the manner in which the RS Act has to be used and its simple application. He emphasised the use of the RS Act with RTI to bring about a change which will rule out red-tape and harassment of common man. He further said, “If you want the government to work for you, you will have to act.” It is our responsiblity enforce government accountablity by making use of these acts.