Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Govt still defiant on RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 28, 2006

Govt still defiant on RTI


NEW DELHI: When it was trying to reduce access to file notings, the government famously claimed that the proposal would actually “promote even greater transparency”. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has since come up with another paradoxical claim on file notings — this time for refusing to delete its interpretation on them from its website.

The regulator of the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC), had directed DoPT on July 13 to remove from the website its own interpretation of the law that file notings made by ministers and bureaucrats could not be disclosed to citizens.

Justifying its defiance of CIC’s order, DoPT said it was not a party to the case in which it had been directed to remove the reference to file notings. Since the case related to the railway ministry, DoPT said, on the basis of additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium’ s opinion, that RTI Act does not enable CIC to deal with a department which is “not directly before it as a respondent in an appeal”.

In other words, DoPT is claiming that it had not been given a proper notice before CIC passed the July 13 order. Documents in possession of TOI, however, show that DoPT has been put on notice in several cases ever since CIC laid down in January that file notings were very much accessible under the RTI Act.

Documents also indicate that DoPT is trying to take advantage of its own failure to take notice of repeated orders and reminders from CIC. The irony is, in one case decided just two days before the July 13 order, DoPT was the respondent and it gave an undertaking that it would disclose file notings to the appellant, Mahavir Singhvi, if CIC directed it to do so. Sure enough, CIC went on to pass such a direction.

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One Response to “Govt still defiant on RTI”

  1. Dhirendra Krishna said

    Quite an absurd stand by DOPT.

    Error in the Web site does not only relate to the case of Railways- it is a general issue.

    They need strictures from Supreme Court, as DOPT is refusing to be reasonable.

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