Plea to get information on officers facing corruption charges rejected
An application was filed with the Office of Chief Secretary of Haryana under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get information regarding the high ranking government officers who had to face corruption charges during the period from January 1, 2000, to October, 31, 2013. The application also sought to know about the action taken against such IAS, IPS, IRS, HCS and HPS officers and whether how many of them were promoted or demoted after corruption charges appeared against them.
The reply from the chief secretary office stated that the requested information could not be provided as its disclosure would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual. The reply said that the sought information was exempted under Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act. The applicant then filed an appeal with the first appellate authority – the deputy secretary to government of Haryana – but the FAA held that it was primarily a matter between the employee and employer and is governed by the service rules, which fall under the expression “personal information”. The FAA contended that the disclosure of such information had no relationship to any public activity or public interest.
The appellant has raised a question as to how the disclosure of details of officers who have faced corruption charges, have caused loss of public money and whose names have been published by media can be a breach of rules under the RTI Act. He has filed complaint against the two officials in the state information commission for shielding corrupt officials.