Most Nepali ministries not in compliance with RTI Act

  • December 4, 2019

Photo: Rightratio

Maximum number of ministries in Nepal have been found not abiding by the law in terms of compliance with proactive disclosure under the Right to Information Act.

A study by Freedom Forum shows that only 15 out of 22 ministries have updated their information under the Right to Information (RTI) obligation. Only seven ministries have followed the rule; however not proactively released all 20 types of information as stated by the act.

Those seven ministries include Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers; Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation; Ministry of Communications and Information Technology; Ministry of land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Finance; and Ministry of Forests and Environment.

According to section 5 under the RTI Act 2007 and Rules 2009, a public body, including ministries, has to keep its information updated and update at least 20 year-old information related to the body from the commencement of this act.

The information that a public body or ministry need to enlist as per the act are “structure and nature of the body, functions, duties, and powers of the body, number of employees and working details of the body, service to be rendered by the body, branch and responsible officer of the service providing body, fee and time limit required for service, decision making process and authority, authority to hear appeal against decision, description of functions performed, name and designation of chief and information officer, list of acts, rules, bylaws or guidelines, updated description of income, expenditures and financial transactions, other particulars as prescribed.”

The study has also found that many ministries are not updating their information on time. According to the study, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has updated its information only till mid-December 2017, while the Ministry of Water Supply has updated information only till mid-December 2016.

Similarly, Ministry of Urban Development has made proactive disclosure till mid-March 2019, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made just one-time update in mid-April 2019. The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has updated irrelevant information.

It has also been learnt that only two of the 22 ministries have placed distinct RTI menu/tab in their websites. Three ministries — Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation; Health and Population; and Youths and Sports — have disclosure tab or RTI links on their websites, but the tabs/links do not open.