In a boost to transparency, the Central Information Commission has ruled that government departments would have to come clean when they give sensitive assignments to employees with dubious integrity.
As a result, the quaintly named "agreed list" of a department, containing names of employees kept under the gaze of CBI and internal vigilance on account of their questionable integrity, is liable to be disclosed under the Right to Information Act whenever such an employee is appointed to a sensitive post.
"Wherever violation of the agreed list was noticed and officers figuring on the list were appointed to sensitive assignments, the names both of the officers taking those decisions and the officers figuring on the list and benefiting from the action of the appointing authority, would be disclosed," the commission held.
Rejecting a plea filed by the customs department seeking exemption from revealing the names of its officers on the "agreed list", a commission bench comprising AN Tiwari and MM Ansari said: "There cannot be protection of law for violation of norms nor for norm violators."
It laid down the principle that no department can be allowed the "luxury" of escaping public scrutiny after violating norms.
The commission said, "No responsible public authority would first prepare an agreed list and then choose to diverge from it. Allowing such divergence from the list would vitiate the very purpose of having created such a list." In the given case, Sudesh Kumar, a superintendent in the customs and excise department will now get access to the "agreed list" because of an admitted deviation from it.
27 Oct 2007, 0237 hrs IST,TNN