The Meghalaya Right to Public Services Bill, along with four others, was passed on the last day of the Assembly session today.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma lauded the aims of the new legislation, saying it will make officials in the government accountable in terms of providing service.
Congress MLAs Mayalborn Syiem and George B Lyngdoh proposed amendments to the bill, suggesting free cost of making a complaint and including disciplinary action against officials in addition to financial penalties.
In response, Sangma said that the fee was so that frivolous complaints could be avoided but added that the fee will be minimal, like in the case of a Right to Information application.
On the suggestion of disciplinary action, he said that it was not necessary at the moment since the penalty of Rs 5,000 for a first offence was high enough and that the purpose of the bill was to make officials realize that they are accountable.
He informed that adding the list of services in the bill will only burden the assembly once the act is in place, since reviewing the list of service will require it go through the house.
He revealed that there were over 60 services in the list but stated that listing all of them in the legislation would only burden the Assembly.
Meanwhile, the other bills that were passed on the day were the Meghalaya Minerals Cess (Amendment) Bill, Meghalaya Settlement of Arrears Bill, Meghalaya Farmers’ (Empowerment) Commission Amendment Bill and St Xavier’s University Shillong Bill.