RTI googly by the Maharashtra government
As per a notification issued by the additional chief secretary (general administration department) P S Meena under sub-section 4 of section 24 of the RTI Act, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been excluded from the purview of the RTI Act. Under Section 24 of the RTI Act, intelligence and security agencies can be exempted from the purview of the Act except cases related to corruption or human rights violation.
RTI activists have opposed the step of the outgoing government to exclude the ACB from the purview of the transparency law and have appealed to the governor to set aside the notification in the larger public interest.
In a separate incident, the general administration department (GAD) of Maharashtra has issued a notice asking all government sections not to entertain applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act if they do not constitute “public interest”. Currently, the state is under President's Rule.
Citing a Supreme Court order of November 2012 vintage, the notification dated October 17, 2014 issued by P P Gosavi, deputy secretary, states, “The performance of an employee or officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression 'personal information' (as defined in clause (j) of section 8(1) of RTI Act), the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual”. An order of the Karnataka high court on August 31, 2012 has also been refered to in the notification which said “Information which does not constitute any public interest and which would warrant overriding the provisions of Section8 (1) (g) (j) of RTI Act, 2005, are not expected to be provided to the applicant, especially when it is intended to score a personal dispute with the third party and does not constitute public interest”.