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Public Service Delivery Act :

Citizen's Charters were introduced in Gujarat in 1998, which was voluntary in character. The main elements of the Citizens Charter were to be published containing the details of services and the time period for delivery of such services. The Jan Seva Kendra was launched in 2004 as an integrated approach to citizen-centric administration, which focuses on access to key services through the e-governance infrastructure using ICT. This enables the citizens to access government services and obtain information in a unified and simplified manner and enables government to provide the required services seamlessly. It was felt that these efforts were noteworthy, but in the absence of a legally enforceable structure, their impact was diffused and limited. In this context, it was felt that Rights based approach be followed by endowing public with the right to get delivery of services within stipulated time lines.

In view of the aforesaid, the government of Gujarat brought‘the Gujarat (Right of Citizens to Public Services) Act, 2013’. The important provisions of the act are as under : The Act

  • • confers right on every individual citizen to time bound delivery of services and redressal of grievances;
  • • requires the state government to notify the services to which the Act shall apply and the time limits within which the notified services shall be provided;
  • • requires every public authority to, within two months from the date of a notification specifying the services to which the Act shall apply, publish the names and addresses of individuals responsible for rendering the notified services.
  • • requires every public authority to, within two months from the date of a notification specifying the services to which the Act shall apply, designate as many officers as may be necessary as Grievance Redressal Officers in all administrative units or offices at the State, district and taluka levels, municipal corporations, municipalities, notified areas, Panchayats and such other offices whereat services are rendered to receive, enquire into and redress any complaints from citizens in the prescribed manner;
  • • requires the concerned Grievance Redressal Officer, upon receipt of a complaint, to ensure that the grievance is remedied in the prescribed timeframe;
  • • provides that any individual aggrieved by a decision of the concerned grievance redressal Officer or who has not been informed in writing the manner in which his grievance is redressed, within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such decision, prefer an appeal to the Designated Authority who shall dispose of such appeal within the prescribed time frame;
  • • provides for constitution of State Appellate Authority and consisting of members;
  • • provides that any person aggrieved by the decision of the Designated Authority may prefer an appeal to the State Appellate Authority;
  • • confers power upon the Designated Authority and the State Appellate Authority to impose a lump sum penalty, including compensation to the complainant against the official responsible for delivery of services or grievance Redressal Officer for their failure to deliver services to which the applicant is entitled, which may extend upto ten thousand rupees which shall be recovered from the salary of the official against whom the penalty has been imposed;
  • • provides that on the imposition of the penalty, the appellate authority may, by order, direct that such portion of the penalty imposed under the proposed legislation shall be awarded to the appellant, as compensation, not exceeding the amount of penalty imposed, as it may deem fit;
  • • provides that if any public servant is found guilty of offence, the disciplinary authority shall initiate the disciplinary proceedings against such officer of the public authority, who if proved to be guilty for a mala fide action in respect of any provision of this Act, shall be liable to such punishment including a penalty as the disciplinary authority may decide;
  • • provides that in any appeal proceeding, the burden of proof to establish that a non - redressal of complaint by the Grievance Redressal Officer shall be on the Grievance Redressal Officer who denied the request;
  • • provides that where it appears to the Designated Authority or the State Appellate Authority that the grievance complained of is prima facie indicative of a corrupt act or practice in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, on the part of the responsible officer of the public authority complained against then it shall record such evidence as may be found in support of such conclusion and shall refer the same to the appropriate authorities competent to take cognizance of such corrupt practice.
  • The Act seeks to achieve the above objects.
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