CIC rejects DoPT’s order on wages issue

NEW Delhi: The Central Information Commission today rejected an order of DoPT Secretary and resolved to continue with outsourced staff at higher wages saying it is an autonomous organisation under RTI Act and not bound by the directives of the central government.

The commission met in its full strength to discuss the crisis which arose after the directive of Secretary, Personnel asking it to either do away with its outsourced staff, which constitutes nearly 60 per cent of sanctioned strength, or cut their pay to minimum rates prescribed by it.

During the meeting which saw presence of all the seven Information Commissioners, it was of the unanimous view that the decision of the commission to hire outsourced staff at an incentive was well within its rights given under Section 12 of the Right to Information Act.

The commission also resolved that it was an autonomous body under the Right to Information Act and not bound by the directives of the government.

During the long meeting, the commissioners resolved there was no bar in regulations to give incentives to the staff which has acquired knowledge of working of commission and the RTI Act and have become necessary to “ensure efficiency in the working” of the commission.

The Secretary, Personnel had asked the CIC to cut the wages of outsourced employees, forming two-thirds of the commission, to basic minimum wages or fire them thus creating fear that the commission with 40,000 pending cases may crumble in the absence of experienced outsourced staff which handles most of the administrative work.

The commissioners highlighted pending cases to stress that CIC had taken a decision to give incentive to these outsourced employees because of their efficiency and there was no reason to go back on that.