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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RTI is the flavour of the season : Disclose Legal / Discipline & Vigilance Advice and notings under RTI Act, says CIC

RTI it seems is the flavour of the season.

In yet another decision affecting the military, the Central Information Commission has held that legal advice rendered by the JAG (Judge Advocate General) department shall be disclosable under the RTI Act and would not fall under the exemption of Section 8 (1) (e) of the Act which provides that information held under fiduciary capacity need not be disclosed.

The CIC has held that the JAG and DV (Discipline & Vigilance) authorities have to act in a transparent and analytical manner while dealing with quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings, hence any such reasoning or noting relating to how a particular case has been dealt with, need not be held back.

The CIC observed the following in the case titled ‘Dr Harish Uppal Vs Ministry of Defence’ :

“The proceedings before the Court Martial and the consequential application for pardon under Section 179 of the Army Act are matters which, although administrative in substance, are quasi-judicial in nature and in such a case, the authorities deciding the matter do decide in accordance with the law and in accordance with principles of natural justice. In proceedings like this, an authority has a duty to act in a transparent manner and cannot withhold its reasoning only on the ground that there is a fiduciary relationship between him and the Government. Such cases are decided in an analytical manner and reasons need to be recorded by the authority. It will be at the very least, inappropriate if the exemption under section 8(1) (e) is extended to such a situation.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why it should be kept confidential and not given to agrieved person?The decisions are based on the advices it has been observed that the person giving final order violates the advices and becomes despot this is democratic system and as such the agrieved person has right to know who has axed him and for what reason.all noting sheets must be made available under the rti act so that agrieved person has right to defend himself apropriately