Should copy of annual confidential report be provided under RTI?
An application was filed by an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the certified copies of his annual confidential reports (ACR) for the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12. The reply from the public information officer of the Haryana forest department states that the demanded information could not be provided as disclosure of ACR is not in public interest.
Sanjiv Chaturvedi has sent a legal notice to the additional chief secretary (forest) of Haryana government stating that the non-furnishing of ACR is in violation of a Supreme Court directive of 2008 according to which entries of ACR of a public servant, irrespective of the nature of the entries, must be communicated to the officer within a reasonable period so that he or she can make a representation for its upgradation. The 2002 batch IFS officer was transferred 12 times during 2005-2010 by the state government. Also two criminal cases were lodged against him after he exposed irregularities in the forest department. Following his revelations, the central government had recommended a CBI enquiry into the alleged tree plantation scam, but no step was taken by the state government.
The Haryana government did not communicate his ACRs for 2010-11 and 2011-12 even after he made a representation to the forest department despite the fact that the central government had asked the state government for the same and the state chief secretary had also asked the additional chief secretary (forest) to communicate the ACR to the officer.