The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed all the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs), which are under Haryana Registration and Regulation of Society Act, 2012, to disclose all the information demanded by the public under provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
As reported by TOI, the court has mentioned in the order that all the documents submitted by the society to the district registrar under 2012 Act are public documents and hence it can be accessed by the residents. It categorically said that the RWAs should disclosed the information demanded by the public.
“Every society registered… shall be liable to supply requisite information against the fee prescribed by the society,” states the order.
Now, a public information officer and first appellate authority will be appointed by all the registered societies to provide the demanded information to public under RTI. They will levy a prescribed fee for it. If the fees are not decided then it will be in accordance with the Haryana Right to Information Rules.
The court's decision was welcomed by both the officials and the residents. District registrar of societies Ishwar Singh told TOI, “It is very important order considering the fact that the RWAs are always reluctant to share information with public. I am very happy that the Societies Act have been brought in Haryana first. This will certainly bring transparency in the system.”
Abhay Puniya, who has been active with various city RWAs for 20 years said, “Despite the mentioning of RWAs liability to provide information under RTI in 2012 Haryana Society Act, the societies have been reluctant in providing information. I am happy that the RWAs will be bound provide information. It will help in resolving many issues.”
Happy with the order, residents said that many RWAs have always been found misusing the collected funds. They said that many RWAs have become money siphoning machines.