Should the property returns of retired IAS officers be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) seeking information in respect of a retired IAS officer including his property returns. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the property returns by referring to the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) earlier order.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the central government has decided to put the property returns of all the IAS officers in the public domain. Therefore, there is no reason why the property returns of this particular officer should not be disclosed. The Commission also noted that though the CIC had always held that such information is personal in nature and should not be disclosed in ordinary circumstances, but in view of the proactive stand taken by the government in this regard there is no justification for the Department to withhold this information any longer. The CIC directed the PIO to provide the photocopy of the immovable property returns of the particular officer to the appellant.
Is it ethical and legal on the part of the government to disclose the property details of government servants? Is their personal privacy less important than that of a citizen who is not in government service?
Citation: Mr. Arun Kumar Agrawal v. Department of Personnel & Training in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001082
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1070
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission