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Thread: CIC Mr. Wajahat Habibullah finally allows access to property returns.........

  1. #1
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    CIC Mr. Wajahat Habibullah finally allows access to property returns.........


    CIC Mr Wajahat Habibullah has given a very detailed and well researched order/decision and finally allowed disclosure of Property Returns filed by Public Servants.

    https://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/WB-14052008-01.pdf

    I feel that this will not make any difference to "corruption" since any intelligent person will continue to use "benami" transactions to enrich himself.

    But the order is important from the point of view that this vexed issue was pending for a long time.



  2. #2
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    CIC split over making public property details


    As reported by Manoj Mitta of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 30 May 2008:
    CIC split over making public property details-India-The Times of India

    CIC split over making public property details


    NEW DELHI: Thanks to its disorderly functioning, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ended up creating an anomaly on whether annual property returns filed by government employees should be put in the public domain.

    Four different members of CIC dealing with cases from four different departments have given conflicting rulings under the RTI Act on this sensitive question. As a result, some departments are required to disclose the property returns of their employees while other departments have been allowed to treat the same as "personal information" exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

    This provision states that barring the overriding consideration of "larger public interest," the central public information officer of any public authority is exempt from disclosing personal information which has "no relationship to any public activity or interest" or which could cause "unwarranted invasion of the privacy" of the employee. Consider the manner in which coordinate benches of CIC have pulled in different directions while interpreting this provision.

    In a recent case, CIC chief Wajahat Habibullah held on May 14 that the department of personnel and training (DoPT) could not claim exemption on the disclosure of property returns filed over three years by IAS officer Shiva Basanth. Since the information was "without doubt of concern to a third party," Habibullah entered a caveat saying that DoPT would have to give Basanth a hearing under Section 11 on whether his property returns could be disclosed.

    Two months earlier, in a case relating to Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghathan, CIC member O P Kejariwal ruled that the property returns of all Group A and B employees should be put in the public domain as a measure to "contain corruption in government offices." Accordingly, in Kejariwal's view, there was no need to give a hearing to the employees concerned before their property details were made public.

    The liberal positions adopted by Kejariwal and Habibullah are a far cry from the order passed by their colleague, A N Tiwari, in July 2006 in a case pertaining to the Delhi Police. He held that property returns were "non-disclosable" because they were generally kept in sealed covers and would be used only when the employee faced a charge or an inquiry. "It is not held as public information but rather as a safety valve," Tiwari said.

    CIC member M M Ansari was the first to disallow disclosure of property returns when he dismissed an appeal in February 2006. He upheld the decision of the department of revenue (finance ministry) refusing to disclose the property returns of income tax commissioner Virender Singh. In Ansari's view, property returns fell in the exempted category of personal information which was liable to cause "unwarranted invasion of privacy" of the employee concerned.

    When coordinate benches, whether of the judiciary or of a regulatory body such as CIC, come up with conflicting interpretations of a key provision, it creates an uncertainty and gives scope for arbitrariness in the enforcement of the law.

    In the event of disagreement between benches, the courts often refer the matter to be resolved by a larger bench. Following the judiciary's example, CIC would do well to dispel the confusion on the status of property returns in the RTI Act by constituting a larger bench.

  3. #3

    Bureaucrats have no right to privacy on personal assets

    By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi
    Friday,May30,2008


    GOVERNMENT officials can’t refuse to disclose the details of their personal assets under the excuse of right to privacy. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that bureaucrats don’t have the right to privacy on personal assets.Trashing the contention of Department of Personnel and Training(DOPthat the details on private assets are confidential documents ,central information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah quoted a Supreme Court judgement which said "when there is a competition between the Right to privacy and the Right to Information of the citizens,the former right has to subordinated to the latter as it serves larger public interest"
    Kousthubha Upadhyaya, asenior ayurveda officer in the Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga &Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), had sought the details of personal assets of his superior Shiva Basanth, ajoint secretary, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from DoPT on October 27, 2006. He had asked whether the government was intimated by Basanth about purchase of any immovable property and the details of procedural formalities followed.

    The DoPT sent him a reply in November but refused to provide any information, pleading exemption from disclosure under Section 8( 1)( J) of the RTI Act. Immovable property returns are required to be furnished under rule 16 (2) of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968. The DoPT said the documents have always been treated as confidential . Upadhyaya moved CIC last October and argued that annual property returns are examined on receipt by officials of the level of lower division clerks onwards and can’t be treated as confidential. He also cited Supreme Court judgements in two cases to support his contention that the public’s right to Information supersedes the right of privacy of the individual. Upholding his contention, Habibullah said annual property returns filed by government employees are in the public domain and there’s no reason why they should not be disclosed.
    <HR>
    Last edited by opsharma; 30-05-08 at 10:30 AM.

  4. Re: CIC Mr. Wajahat Habibullah finally allows access to property returns.........



    12.06.2008
    Guajrat Bureaucrats are afraid of RTI Act 2005 to be imlemented in Gujarat. They don't want to give FILE NOTINGS to an RTI applicant that is why the GAD RTI cell did't cancell their Circular dated 14.11.2005 despite several CICs / All State CICs orders that the FILE Notings are the part of the file. Even the Gujarat Govt. Sardar patel Administrative Institute Ahnedabad given in their teaching material that the FILE NOTINGS are the part of File. Three Secretaries are appointed tio decide wheather to give File Notings or not. 30 months has passed but the Gujarat Givt. Secretaries till date are undicided. This shows rampant Corruption in Gujarat those bureaucrats don't believe in transparency in Gujarat Govt working to minimise the corruption as per the objectives of RTI Act 2005.
    Mr. Modi saying laoudly that he will not allow public money to be shphoned by any one and he will give accounts of each paisa of Public Money.
    Dr.R.K.D.Goel Vadodara.

  5. Re: CIC Mr. Wajahat Habibullah finally allows access to property returns.........


    12.06.2008
    The orders of Mr. R.N.Das IAS, Chief Information Commissioner of Gujarat are to be complimented of his historical judgment to ask the IAS officer to disclose their property details. My 20 applications are pending from October, 2005 for want of FILE NOTINGS from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation Public Authority. Despite the orders of GSCIC the VMC public authority not giving me the FILE NOTINGS because they know that if they will part with the FILE NOTINGS of My applications their rampant corruption will be exposed and the officers those are giving illegal / unauthorised building permissins will be caught.
    The VMC officers and the VMC PUBLIC AUTHORITY now needs to be dragged in the Hon'ble Gujarat High Court for their corruptions and not providing minimum civic services to their Vadodara citizens despite thousands crores rupees grants from the JNNURM funds.
    I ONCE AGAIN CONGRATULATES Mr. R.N.Das IAS. GSCIC FOR HIS BOLD AND HISTORICAL ORDERS.
    Dr.R.K.D.Goel, President Forum of Whistle-BLOWER OF INDIA. Vadodara. Ph:0265-2647677



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