NEW DELHI: In an attempt to ensure "fearless" disclosure of information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has suggested to the Centre that information officers of all "public authorities" be considered as officers of the Commission.
"Just as vigilance officers in government departments who, though working in the department, are considered also to be officials of the Central Vigilance Commission ... the PIOs (Public Information Officers) of public authorities should be considered as officers of Central Information Commission...," the CIC said in its first annual report.
The report, recently placed in the Parliament, made the suggestion after noting that some PIOs have expressed a fear that divulging information, under the RTI, was against the wishes of their seniors and could result into adverse remarks being made in their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs).
"It is obvious that Public Information Officers (PIOs) have a difficult task to fulfil ... they are often caught between the wrath and reluctance of their seniors in having to part with information and the insistence of the CIC that they do their duty," the report said.
Noting that such fears could have an adverse bearing on the effective implementation of the RTI Act, the Commission proposed that ACRs of PIOs should be written by Information Commissioners, either in the Centre or in the states, so as to enable them to work "objectively and fearlessly".
The 2005-2006 annual report has also brought into light the Commission's frustration on being deprived of powers to ensure strict implementation of its decisions.