High Court issues notice to state government on making Government Orders public

Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the State government asking it to respond to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a direction for placing all Government Orders (GOs) in public domain, especially on government websites.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy gave this direction while hearing the petition filed by social activist Perala Sekhar Rao. The petitioner complains that the Telangana government was deliberately not uploading several GOs concerning various departments on its official website. He alleges that the government intends to prevent the public from knowing essential details. The petitioner pointed out that out of a total of 1,04,171 GOs issued by various departments from June 2, 2014, to August 15, 2019, as many as 43,462 orders were missing from the government website.

Sekhar Rao alleged that the government is putting a veil over these GOs to safeguard their political interest. He asserted that the public is entitled to know their rights and duties, and to avail certain benefits of welfare schemes framed by the government by accessing these orders. Interestingly, the petitioner gave examples of how frivolous GOs on certain expenditures of government servants are available on the website, while orders relating to essential policy matters affecting large sections of people are kept secret.

The petitioner also contended that this clandestine approach of the Telangana government was also violative of Section 4(1) (c) of the Right to Information Act (RTI), which stipulates that State Governments must publish all relevant documents while formulating important policies that affect the public. In this context, the petitioner sought a direction from the Court to the State Government to publish all GOs, notifications and rules, circulars in the government website and allot a senior officer to ensure the completion of the task.

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