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Bring JK Bank Under RTI

Bring JK Bank Under RTI

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Many skeletons seems to be falling out from the cupboard after Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik revealed that massive frauds in the recruitment process of Jammu and Kashmir Bank have occurred in past during the Mehbooba regime.

He even went to an extent and said that one of the candidates who didn’t even appear in exams for the civil services was appointed as KAS officer. Malik had many more things to say and assured a prompt action for all the wrong doings in the past by the politicians and bureaucrats.

He even threatened to lodge the criminal proceedings under law against all those who are involved in the corruption practices. According to Malik this injustice done to the common people by the politicians and the successive regimes have pushed the common people to the wall and broadened the sense of alienation.

Meanwhile, whatever the Malik has revealed to the national news channel in an interview is nothing new in Kashmir. People have always been crying for justice and accused the bank for nepotism, favouritism and illegal recruitment processes.

However, this bank which enjoys the highest financial powers in state and is receiving the patronage from the bigwigs of state always managed to evade the accountability.

Following this theocratic attitude of the bank authorities, the civil society in Kashmir approached the State Information Commission in 2012 and sought its intervention to bring the bank under the ambit of RTI.

Interestingly, the commission declared the bank public authority and directed it to disclose the information to the public under section 4 of the act. However, the Bank managed to get order stayed in the Srinagar High Court where the hearings since then are taking place.

Recently in 2018 Jammu and Kashmir RTI Convener Dr Raja Muzaffer Bhat filed another petition in the High Court after locals accused bank of favouritism, nepotism and making large scale illegal recruitments while defying the  merit and pleaded that Bank shall disclose the information on its website under the Voluntary Disclosure Information  in the section 4 of RTI act. The case is still pending in the court for its verdict.

Meanwhile, after the fresh revelation against the Bank now there is a public discourse demanding that Bank shall be brought under RTI. Its accountability, transparency and the prosperity is in the interests of people.

But the first goal of the public shall be getting it out of the clutches which have made it their personal entity notwithstanding the fact that its 53 per cent shareholder is Jammu and Kashmir government.

More than 3 lakh employees are withdrawing its salary from the Bank making its financial powers strong. However, on the ground its services are very negligible besides its Nonperforming assets are growing alarming due to which the bank has suffered severe blow in its financial progress in last few years.

The time has come now when the people all together shall take the legal path and set the strong public discourse to bring it under RTI. Building of public opinion is must for that and the call shall be taken by first intellectuals, responsible citizens and civil societies and the media houses which are ironically not habitual of writing about the bank except publishing its press notes.

On the other hand the governor who made such revelations also ensures that the action is followed or it can offer ample chances for people to point fingers over the credibility of highest governing seat of state.

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