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Atul Patankar

Parliamentary committee proceedings to be revealed under RTI: CIC

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Atul Patankar

As reported at indianexpress.com on Dec 29, 2009

 

New Delhi : The records with a parliamentary committee can be provided to an RTI applicant once the report is tabled on the floor of the House, the CIC held on Tuesday, but exempted cases where documents are declared confidential. The case relates to RTI applicant Patanjali Sharma who sought a certified copy, from Rajya Sabha, of a rule of the Central Secretariat Services furnished to a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs by Department of Personnel.

"I am seeking the information relating to the inputs supplied by the Department of Personnel and Training, on the basis of which the (committee) prepared its 83rd Report," Sharma told the Rajya Sabha.

He said there were gross factual errors in the report which are adversely affecting his career advancement. Rajya Sahbha gave some information but did not allow inspection of record saying these were "considered" confidential.

"The deliberations of the Committee come in public domain only in the form of reports, which contain in detail the matters considered by it at different stages. The reports also carry with them records of the proceedings of the Committee in the form of minutes," it said.

The CIC rejected the arguments saying the report was placed on the floor of the house in 2001 and there was nothing to suggest that it could be withheld from Parliament.

"Inspection of the file, which is part of access to information...together with taking certified copies of the documents or records... is evidently accessible to appellant," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said while rejecting the arguments.

Habibullah said the Committee had decided to place this before Parliament as long ago as 2001.

"Once that has been done, it cannot be argued that any component of that Committee¿s proceedings resulting in the report being placed before Parliament is to be withheld from Parliament, unless so specified," he said.

The CIC said the report does not stipulate whether Committee has not decided or has decided against placing a report, or any of its components, before Parliament.

He directed the Central Public Information Officer to allow the inspection of the records after seeking permission of the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs within 10 days.

 

Source: Parliamentary committee proceedings to be revealed under RTI: CIC

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    • momita
      By momita
      Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh was scheduled to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the post-lunch session on Thursday. Though he was present in the House, the government decided not to introduce it as the Congress and other Opposition parties were against the amendments being moved on the grounds that these would dilute the 2005 Act.

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      The amendment Bill seeks to change the clause dealing with the term of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners and the State CICs and state ICs. As of now, they get a term of five years from the date they assume office. The Bill states this would be changed to a "term as may be prescribed by the Central government”. This would give the Centre the discretion to terminate the service of the CIC, ICs and the state CICs and ICs in case they do not conform to the will of the government.
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