The Right to Hearing Act, 2012 in Rajasthan for better government services
The state of Rajasthan has taken the lead in executing a legislation which entitles the citizen to a time bound legal remedy to their grievances over government services. Under the Right to Hearing Act, 2012, all the government officials shall be bound to dispose the complaints within a stipulated time period failing which action shall be initiated against them an amount of Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000 can be deducted from their salaries with disciplinary action. The Act aims at providing relief at the very point where grievances originates and would aid in giving immediate relief to the complainants.
The Right to Hearing Act, 2012 would complement the Public Services Guarantee Act, which covers 153 services of 18 departments. Along with the Right to Information (RTI) Act, these legislations would lead to governance with accountability and transparency. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Mr. Ashok Gehlot said "The act in itself is unique and aims to ensure all complaints of the common man with regard to governance are addressed and disposed in a time-bound manner."
The main features of the Right to Hearing Act, 2012 are:
- Provision for Citizens to get an opportunity for hearing their grievance near their residence like the gram panchayat, tehsil, sub-division or district level.
- It shall be mandatory to hear the complaints and dispose them within a stipulated time
- Public hearing officers (PHO) and appellate authorities have been formed. The complainant has the right to appeal up to two levels, if he is dis-satisfied.
- PHO have to dispose of the complaint within 15 days and if the complaint is rejected, the reason must be stated in writing.
- First appeal against the decision of public hearing officer has to be disposed of within 21 days.
Rajasthan was the first state to implement the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Further, under the Public Services Guarantee Act, out of more than 57 lakh complaints that were received, 56.33 lakh have already been disposed.