Seeking note-sheet regarding laying of rule for empanelment of officers as Addl Secretary and above
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Cabinet Secretariat seeking file noting and the related documents laying down the rule regarding the empanelment of officers for posting in the Government of India at the level of Additional Secretary and Secretary only if they have the experience of serving for three years in the Central Government at the level of Deputy Secretary / Director and above and the subsequent relaxation of this policy in favour of some individual officers. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided part information.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant pointed out that he had originally sought this information way back in the year 2011 and finally got the information nearly two years after. The respondent explained that the delay was entirely beyond the PIO since the decision to disclose or not to disclose this particular piece of information had rested at very high levels in the government and it was much later that the decision was taken to disclose the information. The PIO also produced the relevant file to show how the authorities at higher levels had engaged within the Cabinet Secretariat and consulted some other Ministries of the Government before finally concluding in favour of disclosure.
View of CIC
The Commission held that the sheer delay has taken place largely because the Cabinet Secretariat could not decide on the disclosure over a long period of time and the PIO concerned cannot be held responsible and penalised for the lapse. The CIC, however, observed that the complainant had to suffer a lot of harassment in the process and keep taking up the matter again and again not only at the level of the CIC but also at the level of the Cabinet Secretariat. Under section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act, the CIC awarded a compensation of Rs. 2000/- to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Cabinet Secretariat in File No. CIC/SM/A/2011/002286 & CIC/SM/C/2012/001202
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1424
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