Group shocked by govt’s plan to legislate new law without public consultation

SHILLONG, Nov 2: The Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR), today said that it was surprised to learn that the government is bringing Meghalaya Rights to Public Services Bill, 2020 in the coming session of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

“It is shocking that the government has not involved the citizens in framing of this important law through a proper pre-legislative consultation,” the TUR said in a statement.

TUR leader, Angela Rangad in a statement said that pre legislative consultation is important because the framing of this law which is meant to make bureaucratic action responsive and time bound cannot be left to the bureaucratic class alone.

TUR submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister regarding this matter.

Rangad also reminded that TUR had submitted a people’s draft of a similar law in 2013 to the government called The Right of Citizens for Grievance Redress and Service Guarantee in Meghalaya Bill, 2013.

According to her this Bill tried to create a framework for a citizen friendly law.

“Our draft bill was wider in scope than mere Right to Public Service Delivery and was conceived also for grievance redressal,” the TUR leader said.

She also said that merely a Rights to Public Service law will only allow a citizen, a right to time bound service, while the bill proposed by them states every citizen’s grievance had to be heard.

Also, TUR proposed an independent District Level Grievance Commission to adjudicate on matters of penalty and compensation.

Rangad also said that apart from filing a complaint with Grievance Redressal Officer in Public Authority, a citizen could also file his/her complaint with block level single window facilitation centres.

“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,” she added.

Therefore, TUR has demanded that the government rather than rushing a Meghalaya Rights to Public Services Bill, 2020, should place the bill in the public domain for citizens to make suggestions and then legislate the bill.