Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the the Right to Service Bill, a landmark piece of legislation passed by the State Assembly on Wednesday, will ensure that service from the government would no longer be a charity but a right of every citizen in the state.
“The legislation is the Magna Carta of the people of the state,’’ he observed.
The Act will give every eligible person the right to obtain government services within a stipulated time-frame.
It provides for effective, time-bound redressal of grievances of citizens, delivery of services to the public and making government servants liable in case of default.
Thirteen government services and nine services related to the Police Department will come under the purview of the legislation in the first phase.
The services provided by any government department, local self-government institution, state public sector undertaking or a statutory body will come under its purview.
More services including that of Chief Minister’s office and the offices of other ministers will be brought within the ambit of the law later, said Chandy in an article, highlighting the salient features of the initiative.
The most-needed basic services like issuance of birth and death certificates, denomination of caste, income and domicile, electricity connection to households and commercial shops, domestic water connections, issue of ration cards are included in the new Act.
Other services which come under the ambit of the first phase of the Right to Service Act include time-bound passport verification, receipts for police complaints, FIR copy, police intervention in grievous crimes, issue of copy of post-mortem report and releasing of vehicles under custody.
The law guarantees delivery of specified services within a stipulated time period and it will be published in the gazette.
If the service is not provided within the time-frame, a citizen can file an appeal within a span of 30 days.
If the appeal is rejected, then the citizen will have a chance of giving a second appeal within 60 days of rejection of the first appeal.
The Act also provides for payment of penalty for failure to provide service without sufficient and valid reasons.
The liability of paying fine rests on the designated officer and the amount will not be less than `500 and not more than `5,000.
The Act will provide a system wherein the public can make government servants answerable in terms of their functions, duties, commitments and obligations.