Thursday, May 15, 2008

More defence papers come under RTI ambit-India-The Times of India

In a move that could open the floodgates for Right to Information (RTI) applications in the defence forces, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has allowed approach papers and notings (documents with remarks related to the officer by his superior) to be put before the review selection board, to be disclosed within 10 days.

CIC had earlier ordered that proceedings of the department promotion committees (DPCs) could be disclosed. In his recent order, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said that since DPCs were not treated as documents exempted under the RTI Act, except those that dealt with annual confidential reports, the documents demanded by the appellant should be disclosed.

Lucknow resident Col (retd) Inder Paul had appealed to the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) — the medical wing of the defence forces — for approach papers related to review selection board meetings held on January 14 and August 8, 2003.

The appeal was rejected by the first appellate authority on the premise that disclosure of the DPC would lead to disclosing of ACRs that was barred. Paul's second appeal was also rejected on similar grounds following which he approached the CIC.

In the order, CIC said that the documents should be given to Paul within 10 days and directed MoD to put forth any objections on record within the time limit.

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