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Friday, July 10, 2009

DoPT regains some sanity – asks all Ministries to disclose file notings under RTI Act

Well, the threat of strong action under the Indian Penal Code by the Central Information Commission (CIC) against two officers of the DoPT has had the desired effect. DoPT has officially issued a circular to all Ministries and Departments that file notings have to be disclosed under the RTI Act.

The action came against the backdrop of serious vacillation on the part of the DoPT to correct contents of its website wherein it was stated that ‘file notings’ were not a part of the definition of ‘information’ under the RTI Act. Despite various decisions by the Central Information Commission declaring file notings disclosable under the Act, the DoPT did not amend the web material. In fact, even in the face of specific directions to remove the offending portion from its portal, the department failed to act in the matter fully knowing that as per the RTI Act, CIC decisions are binding on public authorities.

Some officers suggest that disclosure of file notings and minute sheets would lay open to scrutiny their decisions in tough public matters, not realising that transparency is much more important in public life than secrecy of identity. Moreover, officers taking decision as per law with proper application of mind have nothing to be afraid of. File notings have an important role to play in public administration – it is these notings which bring to light the logic or reasons behind administrative decisions and matters of public policy, it is these notings which disclose whether a particular public authority acted in a bonafide manner or was misled into taking a particular action by someone in the channel leading to the particular final policy decision. File notings also assist Hon’ble Courts of Law under the writ jurisdiction since the rationale and motives behind objectives sought to be achieved through public policies and decisions are disclosed and laid bare, which is good for any democracy, especially where public servants (masters ?) tend to hide behind a thick veil of official secrecy.


BC said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Through I wish to convey that it is an excellent piece of news. Now we can say 'An Uoth Paharh Ke Neche Aaya'
The punching line is 'Transparency is more important that individual's identity' and this is exactly required for the society to grow. Thanks Maj Navdeep.

Anonymous said...

Major Navdeep

i had been browsing all most all of your blogs to find a word from you on 70% pension to PBORs. However, could not find anything but the feeling that quaries on "70%" issue are being avoided. your comments plz.

Anonymous said...

Dear navdeep,

A few queries for your response please-

How does this help a person in getting to know the notings on a statutory complaint filed by him?

What is the latest on the AFT?


Anonymous said...

I am afraid that we are digressing from the issue raised by Major Navdeep. He has talked about pensions and made a very sensible and logical point and we are talking about sacrifices, hardships and what not. The pay scales and allowances for the serving personnel have already been accepted or sorted out by service Headquarters. The issue is fixation of pension for the retirees. Equity and fairness demands that all retirees be they civilians or veterans, be given their fair and rightful dues. It will be fair that keeping in view the length of service of an individual including the element of weightage, if any, the revised salary as per the new scale should be notionally fixed and pension worked out accordingly on that revised salary. In a way it also meets OROP concept. In this computer age this exercise of fixation would not pose any problem.

Anonymous said...

So,the Boos can also be moved into action!!!

Anonymous said...

'Transparency is more important that individual's identity'

"Anonymity is more important tha(n).. on the net."

Wonder why ? The print media will not publish a view without an id. Perhaps a pointer from the movie about invisiblity encouraging evil ?

Anonymous said...

Indian defence have also non commisioned personnel.How about some benificiery discussion about them also?

Venkat said...

Dear Friends,

At the outset, more we talk more we loose.

Everybody wants more irrespective of his present position and possession.

My only request is that concerned
authority should consider in giving
minimum of Rs. 10,000 (Nett per month) and above accordingly to the lower ranks (Sep to Havildar) consideering today's cost of living/age factor etc .

Hope all of my collegue will accept my view.

That is it.

P.S. Venkat (Ex-Sgt IAF)