• By: Sabahat Tanveer

An Act “to provide for delivery of public services to the people of the Province of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within the stipulated time limit, including liabilities of Government servants in case of default, administrative efficiency and for the matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.”

This Act raised as a groundbreaking change in the vibrant and culturally rich province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A law which is a beacon of fairness, transparency, and competency. This Act extends to the whole of the Province of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It started from The Citizen Charter movement of the United Kingdom and then its spread occurred across the Globe including different countries. This led to the provision of guaranteed time bound services for the public as their fundamental right. These developments brought a positive change in the provincial governances. Many other Acts such as the Right to Information, Local Government Act, and Accountability Act were raised as a ray of light in terms of good governance.

The Act of Right to Public Services was passed in January 2014. This Act is designed to ensure the efficient and effective provision of public services. The Act included strict penalties imposed on provincial governments which are not functioning and providing services under stipulated time duration. Also, if the designated officer fails to provide the service to the citizen under a time limit specified under sub-section (1) of section 4, they are bound to compensate the citizens for any delay or denial of the services demanded by paying a fine of rupees twenty-five thousand and shall not be less than rupees five hundred.

The process of filing an application is very user-friendly. It is made in such a way that it can be accessed by a common person even if they are not educated. The flexibility of the Act makes it accessible to everyone and no case should be rejected on the basis of discrimination. Although there are some protocols which need to be followed in making you an eligible person for filing an application. The term ‘eligible person’ refers to a citizen of Pakistan having any accrued right to public service in the province and shall include corporations, companies, firms, businesses, and organizations working in the province. It is mandatory for the designated officer to provide public services under the time limit specified in the Act. A designated officer is one assigned or designated under section 4. A key point is that the application should be duly acknowledged by putting an inward stamp which specifies the date, inward number, and the time of receipt of application.

Furthermore, a citizen can also apply for an online application through the website of KP Right to Public Services Commission. It comes under the e-governance, means that use of web-based internet applications by the Government by combining their information to technological processes. These combined processes are used to enhance the access and delivery of Government information and services for the public, agencies, and other Government entities.

Also, it is used to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of the government which leads to an improved and smooth functionality of the operations run by the government.

In addition to that, a citizen can make an appeal for rejection of application, denial of the demanded service, delay in provision of the service demanded by a citizen and any deficient step made by them in any manner in the application to the Appellate Authority. This term highlights any authority or person specified by the Government through notification or can be an administrative secretary of the Department. Also, it should be appealed within 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) from the expiry of specified time limit or date of rejection etc. It is important that the information of designated officers, services provided for general public, and the specified time limit should be locally displayed on the notice board in Authorities and should be updated on the website as well so that spread of any misinformation can be eradicated and no misconceptions can be made.

Moreover, the Appellate Authority also possesses some powers while deciding the competency of the appeal under section 6. It includes the inspection of the required documents, requesting any copies or public record from government, and making sure that the designated officer has compensated the person who appealed. In case of delay in deciding the appeal from Appellate Authority, the Commission can also impose fine of not less than rupees one thousand but may extend to rupees twenty-five thousand.

Besides the penalties assigned to designated officers, the acknowledgement and cash rewards are also given to an officer who has performed really well in providing public services to the citizens as according to the Act and increased the efficiency of it. It is an essential component in good governance.

An Act of fundamental rights being a cornerstone in the development of our country, especially on provincial level. Where citizens can easily access their rights and services in an efficient manner. Through this transparent system, a relation of trust is built between the citizens and the government and where they can easily rely on the government for their right to public services.

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