The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has been involved in developing and advocating for a series of anti-corruption and accountability legislative framework to tackle corruption and arbitrary use of power in the country and ensure effective redress of grievances. The legislations include the Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act, the Whistle Blowers’ Protection law and a legislation for Grievance Redress.
The NCPRI believes that an effective grievance redress legislation would be a long awaited response to the millions of complaints of ordinary people over many years, which never get heard or addressed by thousands of offices all over the country. The introduction of the ‘Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011’ in the Parliament in December 2011 was a positive step in this direction. It provided a comprehensive grievance redress framework across the country to ensure the delivery of public services, social sector entitlements, and the accountability of delivery systems. It provided a decentralised, time-bound mechanism for receiving and redressing complaints of people. The bill was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, which gave its report in August 2012. However, the bill could not be taken up for consideration and passage and lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
The NCPRI believes that the legislation is critical for empowering and enabling citizens to access their rights and entitlements. The Grievance Redress Bill was an ‘RTI – part 2’ as it followed the same, straightforward, decentralised and tested architecture of the RTI to enable citizens to ensure accountability in government functioning. The bill provided for grievance redress officers to be designated at every panchayat and ward level, who would be responsible for receiving and resolving complaints in a time-bound manner. If a complaint remained unresolved, the law provided an appeal mechanism and the appellate body was empowered to compensate the complainant and penalise the erring official. The bill required every public authority to develop a citizens’ charter enumerating all the services, goods and obligations of the public authority along with relevant timelines, norms and standards.