The Meghalaya Right to Public Services Bill 2020 does not go far enough in holding the state civil service machinery to account when providing services to the public, civil society group Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) said today.
In its press release TUR said it was “shocking” that the government had not opened up the bill to public consultation as framing of legislation to make the bureaucracy more accountable “cannot be left to the bureaucratic class alone.”
TUR wants the bill to go further, like its attempt to create a framework for a citizen-friendly law, which it drafted and submitted to the government in 2013 – the Right of Citizens for Grievance Redress and Service Guarantee Bill.
As it states in the name, TUR’s idea is for a bill that will also encompass a grievance redressal mechanism.
Merely legislating for the right to public services “will only allow a citizen a right to time bound service [but] our bill proposed that every citizen’s grievance had to be heard.”
The group had also proposed an independent district-level grievance commission to adjudicate on matters of penalty and compensation. “Moreover, any law of this nature has to dovetail with the existing transparency and anti-corruption laws like Right to Information Act, Meghalaya Lokayukta Act and Meghalaya Social Audit Act,” TUR said today.
Therefore, TUR demands that the government should place the bill in the public domain for citizens to make suggestions and then proceeds with legislation.