A submission to this effect was made before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam, by Advocate General A L Somayaji today.
Petitioner Siva Elango, a social activist, had submitted that the Act had been put in place by 19 states, including Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.
The legislation made it mandatory for every government servant to “work fairly, frankly, transparently and without any bias as per the People’s Charter,” he said and added that once enacted, it would be a weapon for the common man just as the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
On March 5, the High court had noted that an elected government is ‘naturally responsible’ to the people and is required to provide time-bound service to the masses and had sought to know from the state government whether it intended to enact a special legislation on people’s right to services.
When the matter came up today, an additional counter affidavit was filed by the AG, stating that the Citizen Charter Approach is being implemented in Tamil Nadu to provide for efficiency, time-bound delivery and people-friendly administration.
The counter also said government had already passed an order on November 4, 1997 directing all departments to bring out a handbook containing Citizen Charter from 1998-99 onwards, which should be placed in the assembly during the budget session.
After submission of the counter, the AG submitted that the enactment of Right to Service Act was a policy decision of the government, “which is committed to speedy disposal and prompt delivery of services and was working towards it by way of several initiatives, utilizing Information Technology.”
The Bench then closed the PIL, saying that from the counter, it was abundantly clear that the state government has no information whatsoever to bring any legislation for Right to Public Service Act.
“We can say that despite desirability of the Act it is the policy decision of the state government not to have it. No further directions required. We close the petition.