Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill seeks to create a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of goods and services to citizens.
- Every public authority is required to publish a citizens charter within six months of the commencement of the Act. The Charter will detail the goods and services to be provided and their timelines for delivery.
- A citizen may file a complaint regarding any grievance related to: (a) citizens charter; (b) functioning of a public authority; or (c) violation of a law, policy or scheme.
- The Bill requires all public authorities to appoint officers to redress grievances. Grievances are to be redressed within 30 working days. The Bill also provides for the appointment of Central and State Public Grievance Redressal Commissions.
- A penalty of up to Rs 50,000 may be levied upon the responsible officer or the Grievance Redressal Officer for failure to render services.
Key Issues and Analysis
- Parliament may not have the jurisdiction to regulate the functioning of state public officials as state public services fall within the purview of state legislatures.
- This Bill may create a parallel grievance redressal mechanism as many central and state laws have established similar mechanisms.
- Companies that render services under a statutory obligation or a licence may be required to publish citizens charters and provide a grievance redressal mechanism.
- The Commissioners may be removed without a judicial inquiry on an allegation of misbehaviour or incapacity. This differs from the procedure under other legislations.
- Appeals from the Commissions’ decisions on matters of corruption will lie before the Lokpal or Lokayuktas. The Lokpal and some Lokayuktas have not been established.
- Only citizens can seek redressal of grievances under the Bill. The Bill does not enable foreign nationals who also use services such as driving licenses, electricity, etc., to file complaints.