A directive issued by the High Court (HC) of Punjab and Haryana has asked all the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and housing societies registered under the Haryana Registration and Regulation of Society Act, 2012, to make the information accessible to the public under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 norms. The court, in its order, made it clear that documents filed by society while registering with the district registrar under the Act are public documents and hence, cannot escape from the RTI Act.
In order to provide information to the public under the RTI Act, all the registered societies need to appoint an appellate authority and a Public Information Officer (PIO) and impose a specified fee for the same. If the RWAs fail to specify the fee, the charges will be considered as per the Haryana Right to Information Rules.
Residents have welcomed the move stating that it will make the process easy and more transparent as they will be able to seek information directly from the RWA, but will also bring transparency. According to District Registrar of Societies, Ishwar Singh, the decision will bring more complaints under the purview of RTI, which could be utilised as evidence to resolve complaints.
It is to be noted that RWAs are often criticised for misusing the money collected from the residents for the upkeep of society.
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