Citizens Charter and Grievance Redressal Bill 2011
A Bill to lay down an obligation upon every publicauthority to publish citizens charter stating therein the time within which specified goods shall be supplied and services be rendered and provide for a grievance redressal mechanism for non-compliance of citizens charter and for matters connected therewith or incidental hereto.
1) Preliminary 2) Right to Service 3) Publication of Citizens Charter and GRO 4) Establishment of Information and Facilitation Centre 5) Appointment and Obligations of GRO by Public Authority 6) Appeal to the Designated Authority 7) Establishment of SPGRC 8) Establishment of CPGRC 9) Penalties and Compensation 10) Reporting of Redressal of Grievances by P.A 11) Miscellaneous
Citizens Charter: A document declaring the functions, obligations, duties, commitments of a public authority for providing goods and services effectively and efficiently with acceptable levels of standards, time limits and designation of public servants for delivery and grievance redress. Complaint: A complaint filed by citizen regarding any grievance relating to, or arising out of, any failure in the delivery of goods or rendering of service pursuant to the citizens charter, or in the functioning of a public authority, or any violation of law, policy, programme, order or scheme but does not include grievance relating to the service matters of a public servant whether serving or retired. Days: The number of working days. Designated Authority: Such officer or authority outside the concerned P.A
Every Citizen shall have the right to time bound delivery of goods and services and redressal of their grievances. A Citizens Charter has to be published by every P.A within 6 months from the commencement of this act. The Citizens Charter should include the details of goods and services rendered, delivering agency, timings, eligibility and quantitative parameters. It should also include the complaint redressal mechanism and its time frame. The head of the department in each P.A shall be responsible for updating and verifying the Citizens Charter every year and the accuracy of the contents thereof. He is also responsible to ensure that the Citizens Charter is widely disseminated to the public and its availability on the website, to the extent possible.
Every P.A shall establish Information and Facilitation centre for efficient and effective delivery of services and redressal of grievances, which may include setting up of Customer Care Center, Call Center, Help Desks and People’s support center. The HOD of every P.A shall be responsible for the development, improvement, modernization and reform in service delivery and redressal of grievances, which includes adoption of electronic modes, internet etc. The appropriate government may, by notification, make rules in relation to Information and Facilitation Centre.
The P.A shall designate as many GROs as may be necessary, within 6 months from the commencement of this Act. The GRO shall be at least one level higher than the individual designated to deliver goods or render services and be deemed to have administrative control over him/her. Immediately upon designating such officers, the P.A shall inform the public about the same, through a public notice in the newspapers. This cycle has to be carried out once in every 12 months or whenever there is a change in the information provided (whichever is earliest). The P.A shall display all relevant information at its each office.
The GRO shall provide all necessary assistance to citizens in filing complaints. All complaints made should be acknowledged by a receipt issued in writing, electronic means, text messages, through telephone or any other means. The acknowledgment should include the Date, Time, Place, particulars of the complaint receiver along with the time within which, the complaint will be redressed, in accordance with its Citizens Charter. The grievance has to be remedied in a time frame not exceeding 30 days from the time of receipt of complaint. The reason for the occurrence of the grievance is identified and the responsibility is fixed.
If the grievance has occurred as a result of deficiency, negligence or malfeasance, then action has to be taken in accordance with conduct rules and departmental procedures. If the GRO is convinced that there is a willful intent in negligence or there exists a prima facie grounds for a case under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the GRO can make an observation to that effect, along with recommendation for penalty (Including compensation) to be imposed, to the Designated Authority. The GRO may seek the assistance of any other officer or direct any other officer to take action to redress a complaint (Deemed GRO). The GRO shall ensure that the complainant is informed in writing, the manner in which the grievance is redressed and shall give him a report in the form of an action taken report. Immediately after 30 days, the GRO shall report to the D.A, the details of all such complaints which have not been redressed, along with the reasons for non-redressal of such complaints (Deemed Appeal).
Any individual who is aggrieved by the decision of GRO or who has not received an Action Taken report, may file an appeal with the D.A within 30 days of expiry of such period or from the receipt of such decision. The receipt of appeal shall be acknowledged by the office of the D.A The D.A shall have the same powers as that of a civil court under the code of civil procedure, 1908. Every appeal filed shall be disposed off within 30 days from the date of receipt of such appeal. An appeal of urgent or immediate nature shall be disposed off within the same day of the receipt of appeal. The D.A shall arrange to deliver the copies of the decisions to the concerned parties within 5 days from the date of such decisions.
The D.A may impose penalty, including compensation to the complainant, in deciding an appeal against concerned officer for acting in a malafide manner or failed to discharge their duties without any sufficient and reasonable cause. If the D.A thinks that the complaint is prima facie or indicative of corrupt practice, it shall record in writing such evidence as may be found in support of such conclusion and shall initiate the proceedings to take cognizance of such practices. The D.A has the powers to issue directions requiring the concerned officers to take such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with Citizens Charter. Any individual who is aggrieved by the decision of D.A or who has not received a decision with 30 days, may file an appeal with the SPGRC within 30 days of expiry of such period or from the receipt of such decision.
The decision of SPGRC shall be binding. The SPGRC shall consists of 1 Chief commissioner and such number of commissioners not exceeding 10. At least, one each shall be from amongst SCs, STs and women. They shall be appointed by the governor on the recommendation of the selection committee which consists of the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and a sitting judge of the High Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice. The selection committee shall select out of a panel of 5 eligible candidates for each vacancy which shall be finalized by a search committee consisting of such members as may be prescribed.
A person is not eligible for appointment unless :- He has held a post in the rank of Secretary or Principal Secretary to the State Government. He is or has been a District Judge for at least 10 years He is or has been a Judge of the State High Court He is an eminent person recognized for this work towards public service and who has worked for at least 15 years in the social sector with a Post-Graduate degree in relevant subject. The State Government may prescribe additional criteria to the above. The Chief commissioner and other such commissioners will hold the office for a period of 5 years or until they attain an age of 65 years (whichever is earliest) and are NOT eligible for re- appointment.
If, for reasons apart from temporary absence, any vacancy occurs n the office of SPGRC, then the Chief commissioner shall appoint another person in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to fulfill the vacancy. The SPGRC shall have the same powers as that of a civil court under the code of civil procedure, 1908. All proceedings are deemed to be Judicial. Every appeal filed shall be disposed off within 60 days from the date of receipt of such appeal. An appeal of urgent or immediate nature shall be disposed off within the same day of the receipt of appeal or before the date on which the cause on action may cease to exist, which shall not be later than 15 days. The SPGRC shall arrange to deliver the copies of the decisions to the concerned parties within 15 days from the date of such decisions.
The SPGRC may impose penalty, including compensation to the complainant, in deciding an appeal against concerned officer for acting in a malafide manner or failing to discharge their duties without any sufficient and reasonable cause. If the SPGRC thinks that the complaint is prima facie or indicative of corrupt practice, it shall record in writing such evidence as may be found in support of such conclusion and shall refer the same to the appropriate authorities. The SPGRC has the powers to issue directions requiring the concerned officers to take such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with Citizens Charter. The SPGRC may, Suo motu, take notice of failure to deliver goods and services in accordance with the Act and refer such cases for disposal to the HoD, who shall send an Action Taken report to the commission within 30 days of such reference.
It is the duty of the SPGRC to receive and enquire in to a complaint from any person – Who has been unable to submit an appeal to the D.A Who has been refused redress of grievance under this Act Whose complaint has not been disposed off, within the time limits Who has been denied access to Citizens Charter of a P.A either because Citizens Charter was not created or is inadequate in any regard or is not widely disseminated to make people aware of it. In respect of any other matter relating to registering and redressing of a complaint or appeal under this Act. In any appeal proceedings, the burden of proof to establish that a non-redressal of a complaint by the GRO shall be on the GRO who denied the request.
The D.A, SPGRC or the CPGRC may impose a lump sum penalty against responsible officer, which may extend up to 50,000 INR and shall be recovered from the officer’s salary. On imposition of penalty, it may, by order, direct such portion of penalty as it may deem fit to the appellant, as compensation. If a public servant is found guilty, the disciplinary authority shall initiate the disciplinary proceedings against such officers.
Every P.A shall ensure that every GRO keeps a record of complaints made to it or appeal therein and the decisions on such complaints and appeals. Every P.A shall publish on its website, by the 15th of every month or at such short intervals as may be prescribed, a report mentioning – The number of complaints received The number of complaints disposed off The number of complaints pending and Such other particulars, as may be prescribed, for discharge of its functions under this Act.
Any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the CPGRC or SPGRC, may file an appeal to Lokpal or Lokayuktas respectively. Bar of Jurisdiction of Courts. The appropriate government, by notification, may make rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act. Every rule made by the Central Government has to be laid before both the houses of parliament, as soon as possible (State Legislature in case of State Government).