Noting that the Centre had taken substantive steps to put in place a system for timely redressal of public grievance in every department of governance, the Delhi High Court has disposed of a petition seeking direction to the government for providing a citizens’ charter.
Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of a petition moved by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay praying for a direction to the Centre to provide a citizens’ charter in every department to ensure time-bound delivery of goods and services, and redressal of citizens’ grievances in a time-bound manner.
He had also sought implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Sense of House Resolution.
Noting the Centre’s submissions that it is already trying to implement the citizens’ charter through executive instructions and the process is going on, the bench said, “It would appear that substantive steps have been taken by the respondents on the issue raised by the petitioner and nothing survives for adjudication.”
The Centre had submitted that after the formation of the new government at the Centre in 2014, re-introduction of the Bill re-named as Right to Services and Grievances Redress Bill, 2014, was proposed. However, the Bill has been initially implemented as a non-statutory scheme and based on the experience of the scheme, the Right to Services Bill could be formulated.
Additionally, the Centre submitted that it has issued a departmental order captioned ‘Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances’ setting out guidelines for timely redressal of public grievances pressing upon all concerned to provide redressal of any public grievance within 60 days and to not close any complaint abruptly.
According to the guidelines, each ministry/ department/ organisation has been asked to nominate a Director of Public Grievances, preferably not below the rank of Joint Secretary. This Director of Public Grievance is to remain available to the public on each Wednesday for receiving their grievances.
“These guidelines stand circulated to all the ministries under cover of the letter dated 12th March, 2015,” the court noted.