Details regarding recommendations for nominations to various committees were sought
The appellant filed three applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking information about the recommendations received from various quarters including the VIPs for nomination of members on the National Committee for Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare (NCPSEW), the National Advisory Council (NAC) and as nonofficial Directors on Boards of Public Sector Banks including the State Bank of India and its local boards. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed that the letters received from various quarters recommending names had been filed without any action. The PIO also transferred some part of these RTI applications to the Department of Revenue (DoR) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). The concerned PIOs responded separately and provided some information.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the representative of PMO furnished the guidelines under which such recommendations had been decided to be filed by them and were not supposed to be acted upon. The representative of the Department of Revenue submitted that the names received from various quarters were put up to the Finance Minister and the final composition of the committee was decided on the basis of the direction given by him. He further stated that the Finance Minister had not recorded any reason for selecting someone as member and not selecting the others. The respondent from Department of Financial Services submitted that selection of nonofficial directors was made on the basis of the guidelines framed by the Department and with the approval of the ACC and they would not have the information for all these institutions beginning 2001 as required by the appellant. He, however, agreed to provide this information for the current incumbents.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO, PMO to forward to the appellant the copy of the guidelines along with the relevant file noting by which these had been approved by the competent authority. The CIC held that since no material record exists with the DoR to show why one individual is selected and not the other hence the same cannot be provided. The Commission also suggested that the authorities should streamline such appointments by bringing in greater rigour and objectivity in the selection of individuals. The CIC directed the PIO of the DFS to find out whatever information is available regarding the number of part time nonofficial Directors and Boards of all the Public Sector Banks including the State Bank of India and its local boards and send it to the appellant. In case this information is not available for the entire period as desired, it should be sent or for whatever period is available. The Commission also held that since the records of the public authority do not reflect the sector which a particular nonofficial director represents, he can only provide the complete list and it is for the appellant to deduce about the sector which each of the directors represents.
As per the conduct rules, the use of influence even for transfer is liable to be punished. Rule 20 of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 provides that no Government servant shall bring or attempt to bring any political or other outside influence to bear upon any superior authority to further his/ her service under the Government.
Citation: Mr. K P Singh v. Prime Minister’s Office and Department of Revenue in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001124, 1173 & 1288
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1030
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