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CIC postpones hearing on refusal of PMO to give details of graft complaints against ministers

New Delhi: Citing paucity of time, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has postponed till mid-June the hearing on an appeal against the PMO’s refusal to disclose details of corruption complaints against Union ministers.

Whistle-Blower IFS Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi

The transparency watchdog was hearing an appeal filed by whistle blower bureaucrat Sanjiv Chaturvedi after being denied the information on the graft complaints against the ministers and on other queries by the Prime Minister’s Office despite the CIC’s order.

Replying to an RTI application filed by Chaturvedi, the PMO had in October last year said it receives complaints against various Union ministers and high-level functionaries from time to time.

“These complaints received relate to a variety of matters including corruption related and non-corruption related matters…To identify, examine and categorise each of these complaints as corruption related complaints may be a subjective as well as a cumbersome exercise,” the PMO had said citing Section 7 (9) of the Right to Information Act to justify the denial.

The section says “an information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question”.

Aggrieved over the reply, Chaturvedi had approached the CIC.

In his submission to the Commission, he had said the PMO cannot deny the information under Section 7 (9) of the RTI Act.

The information can only be denied under Section 8(1) of the act, Chaturvedi said.

“The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that due to paucity of time, the hearing in the matter could not be concluded. Therefore, the matter is adjourned to June 17, 2019,” said Sudhir Bhargava, Chief Information Commissioner, in an order dated May 1.



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