The Assembly on Monday referred the Kerala State Right to Services Bill (2012) for the consideration of the Subject Committee. The Bill is envisaged to provide for delivery of services to the general public within the stipulated time limit.
Section 3 of the Bill has provisions for every department of the government, every head of the department, every local self-government institution and every statutory body to notify in Gazette the services that will be rendered by them, the first and second appellate authority and the stipulated time limit for the purposes of this Act within six months of the commencement of this Act.
In the statement of Objects and Reasons, it has been said that the three essential elements of good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration.
By the proposed legislation, the government intends to guarantee the delivery of public services such as the issuing birth certificates, caste certificates, electricity and water connections to houses and shops, passport verification report, job verification report etc. which will be notified under the proposed law.
A time limit will be fixed for the delivery of each service. If the officials fail to perform their duties and provide such notified services within the time limit, they will be liable to pay fine. Replying to the discussion, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who piloted the Bill, said that the government had already held talks with government employees.
The government does not want to issue an ordinance in this regard, he said. He said that his personal opinion was to bring the Chief Minister also under the purview of the Bill. This was only the first stage and any limitation in the proposed Bill could be solved by including more clauses, Chandy said. ‘’More offices and officials could be brought under the purview of the Bill,’’ he said.
When pointed out that the government Secretariat was not included in the ambit of the Bill, the Chief Minister said that certain services of the Secretariat which could be included would definitely be included. Certificate attestation, statutory appeal and the like could be included. But complaints cannot be included as it required more inquiries, he pointed out.
Moving an amendment, K Suresh Kurup of the CPM said that the Bill should be sent to the select committee. He said that the Rajasthan Government, which implemented the Act effectively, had appointed a commissioner for monitoring the implementation of the Act.
K Raju, T A Ahammed Kabeer, P Thilothaman and Benny Behnan also participated in the discussions. The Bill will be passed on Wednesday.