The Gujarat (Right of Citizens to Public Services) Bill, 2013 was passed unanimously today with MLAs cutting across party lines supporting the citizen-centric legislation.
The Centre and states like Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh have already enacted Citizen Charter Acts or Public Services Guarantee Acts.
The Gujarat Bill stipulates that the state government should notify the services and within what time limit they shall be rendered to every citizens of the State. Giving details of the different provisions of the Bill Finance Minister Nitin Patel said it provides for the appointment of designated officers, grievance redressal officers, designated authorities as well as the constitution of the state appellate authority.
"If the relevant service is not provided within the prescribed time limit then the aggrieved person can file a complaint before the grievance redressal officer and further till appellate authority".
The Bill empowers the designated authority and state appellate authority to impose fine on the officer responsible for rendering service and also on the grievance redressal officer acting in a 'malafide' manner.
The Opposition Congress suggested increase in fine amount on the officer who fails to render public service in stipulated time. "This Bill provides for a fine of Rs 1,000 on the officer found responsible for delay. But the Bill should have the provision for an exemplary fine," said Congress Chief Whip Balwantsinh Rajput.
Tejashree Patel (Congress) suggested that "as the Bill puts specific time limit on rendering public services, the government must fill the posts lying vacant in the state administration up to village level."