(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: PIB – Citizens Right To Grievance Redress Bill 2011

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Citizens Right To Grievance Redress Bill 2011

Answer: The Citizens Right to grievance Redress Bill 2011
marks the next milestone in the UPA government’s mission to enact a series of
rights based legislations. Drawing on the framework of the Right to Information
Act, the objective of this Bill is to ensure that the common man receives quick
and efficient delivery of the goods and services to which he is entitled and
which may have been delayed for any reason what so ever. The other
objective of this Bill is to ensure that a person who is denied a public good or
service to which he is entitled is able to take action against the person who is
denying that service on a mala fide ground (such as a demand for a bribe in
exchange for the service). To this end the Bill directs all public authorities
to draft and publish a ‘Citizens Charter’. This document contains a list of

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functions and obligations that the public authority can be reasonably expected
to fulfil. In addition to this the name and addresses of individuals responsible
for the delivery of goods or the rendering of services is to be provided as
well. An illustrative list of contents for the ‘Citizens Charter’ is provide in
the Bill itself. This Charter is to be updated annually. The Bill establishes
new authorities at the level of the Block, District, State and the Centre. A
person can file a complaint with the ‘Grievance Redress Officer’ at the level of
the concerned department itself. Within fifteen days of the filing of this
complaint the aggrieved individual is to receive the public good or service he
was denied. If his complaint is  not addressed within fifteen days the same
is automatically escalated to the level of the Head of Department along with an
‘Action Taken Report’ detailing the reason for the lack of action on the
complaint. The Head of Department has to resolve the complaint within thirty
days of receipt. Appellate bodies to hear appeals from the Head of Department
have been constituted at the level of the State and the Center. If an official
is found to have denied a service unfairly or in a mala fide manner then
penalties can be imposed against him. In addition to this a new body called the
‘Information and Facilitation Center’ shall be established within each public
authority to provide aid to any individual who wishes to file a complaint. This
body along with the Grievance Redress Officer shall provide all necessary
education and assistance to an aggrieved person. Where it appears to the Head of
the Department of the Public Authority that the grievance complained of its
indicative or representative of a corrupt act on the part of the individual
officer then it shall record the evidence in support of such conclusion and
shall initiate criminal proceedings against the official. The existing
mechanisms have proven to be inadequate when it comes to redressing the
grievances of citizens. Most of them are housed within the public authority
complained against, thereby leading to an ostensible conflict of interest. The
Bill significantly strengthens the ability of the common man to demand delivery
of public goods and services. It further promises to ensure greater transparency
and accountability in the system by eliminating avenues for bureaucratic delays.

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