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Friday, October 10, 2008

Cabinet secretariat get CIC rap over RTI

Publication: Times Of India Delhi; Date: Oct 10, 2008; Section: Times Nation; Page: 17
Himanshi Dhawan | TNN

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission, in a recent order, pulled up the cabinet secretariat for its casual attitude and demanded that the information that had been withheld regarding an appellant’s promotion should be disclosed within 10 days.

Terming the attitude of the cabinet secretariat as “flippant”, the CIC in a recent order observed that the department was making a “determined effort” not to provide information to the appellant.

While giving the order, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said, “We are constrained to observe that the manner of disposal of the application... by so august a body as the cabinet secretariat, expected to be a model for public authorities, is nothing less than flippant.”

Appellant Sushma Jain had asked for information related to the search and selection committee that met on September 9, 2006 that had considered her case.

She was being considered for the position of additional secretary in the legislative department in the ministry of law and justice. She had applied to the ministry which asked her to address her query to the cabinet secretariat.

In his order, Habibullah noted that the commission had allowed proceedings of staff selection, promotion committees and even annual confidential reports — in certain cases — to be made public. The commission ordered that Jain be given records of the committee and any subsequent consideration of her promotion within 10 days.

The cabinet secretary had refused giving the information with the response that the application was non-specific and lacked clarity.

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