Steps taken for implementation of Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill and Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act
The appellant referred to Administrative Reforms Commission’s (ARC) fourth report in which recommendations were made for a Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill and implementation of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 1988. He sought the information about the steps taken regarding enactment of Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill, Steps taken by government for implementation of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act and inspection of all the related files. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that the enactment of the Bill does not fall in the domain of this division and the Benami Transactions Act is proposed to be revised. The PIO further denied the perusal of files under section 8(1) of the RTI Act claiming that they pertain to a sensitive legislative matter under process and would prejudicially affect the strategic and economic interests of the sovereign.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that the information sought related to the measures taken by the government for implementation of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 in the wake of the recommendations of the ARC report on ‘Ethics in Governance’. The PIO submitted that they have been unable to provide any information at the point of time when the RTI was filed as they were in the process of drafting a new Bill relating to Benami Transactions which has since been sent to Parliament in August 2011.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) felt it is understandable that as the legislative process was on at the time of filing of RTI, and hence no information relating to the draft Bill could have been shared. The Commission upheld the contention of the appellant that the PIO could have provided information relating to the measures taken by the government to implement the 1988 Act from the date of submission of the ARC report to the date of filing of the RTI. Referring to section 4(1)(c) Every public authority shall publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public; of the RTI Act, the Commission noted that it makes it incumbent on every public authority to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public. The Commission directed the PIO to furnish the information as asked by the appellant subject to the provisions of section 10 of RTI Act.
Citation: Ms. Swapna Jha v. CBDT in File No. CIC/DS/A/2011/002460/RM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/669
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