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Thread: can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?

  1. can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?


    If the information officer is subordinate in rank of the officer who classified the information as secret of confidential, can be override the decision of his supervisor?




  2. He can. Is is so because the Public Information Officer is an independent authority created under a special statute.


  3. It might create lot of problem with government officers who are especially senior

    And the senior may differ over the definition of 'secret'



  4. The CPIOs are apponited in terms of Section 5 subsection (1) of the RTI which reads
    Every public authority shall, within one hundred days of the enactment of this Act, designate as many officers as the Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, in all administrative units or offices under it as may be necessary to provide information to persons requesting for the information under this Act.

    The obligation is caused on the Public Authority not on the CPIO. It is the discreation of public authority whom it wants to designate as CPIO.
    Once CPIO is designated he has to furnish information as required by the ACT.

    The question here is
    Quote Originally Posted by jeevan View Post
    If the information officer is subordinate in rank of the officer who classified the information as secret of confidential, can be override the decision of his supervisor?
    The confidential / secret information is obtained only through the senior officer. All information does not lies with the CPIO. CPIO is only one window system for the Public Authority. His job is to collect information from all the branches and provides to public.
    In case of information which is of secrat or confidential nature, the departmental mechanism will ensure that it is provided or not provided in terms of the RTI act. The provider department will comes in picture and they can send their comment while forwarding the information.

    I do not think such a situation will generally arise in governental setup as all such infomration is collected from the other section under writing. The section gives their comment while forwarding the information.

  5. #5
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    Re: can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?


    A classified information when disclosed to public no more reamain as classified. It therefore involve downgradation of classification. Declassification can be done only by the person who is delegated with the powers to do so. It is not the question as to who has classified the information as confidential/Secret. The PIO has to initate action to downgrade the the classification by approaching the concerned authority formally. In case the concerned authority does not downgrade it, it is incumbant on him to justify that the i confidential/secret information fall under any of the sections of Section 8 of theAct. Once he get such a reply from his higher authorities the PIO can refuce the information accordingly enabling it to be decided at First Appeal.

  6. Re: can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?


    This topic-question reminds me of another self-serving question... How did you feel after beating your wife?

    If the information is secret (protected under one of the exemptions), it cannot be released, no matter whether it is a senior officer or subordinate officer. If it is not protected, then the classification of "secret" was wrong.

  7. #7
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    Re: can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?


    May I correct the example ? ... It is " Did you stop beating your wife ? ". If the answer is "Yes", he has been beating his wife and now it is stopped. If the answer is "NO", he has not stopped beating his wife". In any case theanswer is that he has been beating his wife.

  8. Re: can subordinate officer acting as PIO release secret information?


    Thanks for "correcting" the example. You are right. You proved my point
    Last edited by Satish Gupta; 24-08-07 at 08:04 AM.

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