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CIC frowns over Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings

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CIC frowns over Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings

As Reported in the Hindu on March 27, 2008


New Delhi (PTI): The Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings under the RTI Act gives an "adverse" view on the functioning of the government which could otherwise take credit for enacting the transparency law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said.


The CIC's observation came as it blamed the DoPT -- Centre's administrative authority in terms of RTI Act -- for its website's content saying that citizens cannot get access to file notings under the Right to Information law.


The government's view as contained in the website of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is contradictory to the directions of the statutory panel, which has consistently held that file notings are disclosable under the RTI Act.


"The DoPT is advised that in light of the misunderstanding created by its whimsical entries on its website, such entries be discontinued, since these give only an adverse view of the functioning of a government which, in fact, could otherwise seek credit for having been instrumental in the enactment of the RTI Act 2005," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in a recent order.


The CIC's observation came in respect of a RTI plea of President's Secretariat employee S S Bhamra seeking disclosure of certain file notings. The records were denied to him as the President's office took refuge under the DoPT guidelines on file notings. An appeal was thereafter moved before the CIC.


Even as the CIC directed divulging of the notings, the President's office sought DoPT's opinion before passing on the details to the applicant.


"The President's Secretariat is advised to exercise greater caution in implementing the RTI Act 2005 both in letter and spirit in dealing with such cases in future," the CIC also said.

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RTI activists slam info panel chief

As reported in Yahoo! News on Fri, Mar 28 01:20 AM


A DAY after India's Information watchdog slammed the government for resisting the right to know, the Central Information Commission itself came under fire on Thursday from jurists, MPs and activists for laxity in the effective implementation of the Right to Information. RTI activists have questioned the soft approach of the CIC in dealing with the government departments, which failed to provide information.


Former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma said there should have been no ambiguity in the implementation of the RTI Act in administrative functioning of the judiciary, including the appointment of judges. "All executive actions taken by the judiciary, once finally decided should be made public.


There can be no dispute about it. Entire correspondence of any administrative matter which has been decided should not be withheld," the former CJI said.


Justice Verma rejected the argument that judiciary's own rules could limit the scope of the RTI Act. "The Act was a solid check against arbitrariness and those responsible for its implementation should not hesitate to do so in the judiciary also," he said.


Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal of Parivartan, an NGO criticised CIC Wajahat Habibullah for depending on the government for the success of RTI. "The government's role in blocking information was known for years but what has the CIC done to discipline the departments which repeatedly deny information?" Parivartan's Santosh Jha said.


Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Grievances and Personnel, E. M.Sudarsana Natchiappan said the tendency not to part with information was due to the false belief of retaining power by being secretive, and the CIC should work to change this mindset.

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Yes the accusation is correct...

the centre should proactively check the denial of information under rti act..

every dept should have at least 10% workforce looking after only RTI application and its proper disposal...

for the first time in country such a law has come which can ensure transparency...

so proactively govt should induct more staff and scan all the documents as soon as they leave the desk of an officer or a clerk..

every officer should have one scanner apart from one computer and printer... this way effective implementation of rti act can be ensured

any comments please

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