Jeeva, TNN CHENNAI
Information commissions in the country often rule in favour of disclosure of property details by public servants under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, but when it comes to the assets of their own chief commissioners, not all furnish details. This correspondent, who filed RTI applications with information commissions in as many as 17 states and the Central Information Commission in New Delhi early last month, seeking property details of their chief information commissioners, got details only from commissions in Tripura, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir.
The information commissions in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Meghalaya and Punjab said no such information was available in their records, though the Act says they have to forward the application to the department which has the details.
The central information commission rejected the application and advised the applicant to approach the department of personnel and training under the Central government though the commission had uploaded details of assets of its commissioners on its website.
The Puducherry information commission forwarded the request to the Union home ministry while the one in West Bengal sent it to its personnel department.
The Himachal Pradesh personnel department to which the application was forwarded by the state information commission, replied asking the applicant to pay Rs 2 to furnish the information as it had to take a copy of the one-page information. The Orissa information commission returned it saying the application was not in the prescribed format and that the applicant had not furnished his identity proof (in accordance with the RTI Rules of Orissa). The Act makes no such stipulation.
Jammu and Kashmir information commission chose to disclose the details even though state's Right to Information Act stipulates that only citizens of that state can get information from it. The Tamil Nadu Information Commission did not even respond to the RTI request, though it had acknowledged the application.
The commission in Gujarat rejected the query by replying in Gujarati to the application in English.
This correspondent filed RTI applications with information commissions in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal, besides the Central Information Commission.
Originally published in Times of India here: http://goo.gl/gBk3w