The Central Information Commission has directed the government to proactively put in the public domain data about officials facing corruption cases in each department. The transparency watchdog has directed the Department of Personnel and Training to ensure that “numerical” data of government officials facing corruption charges should be brought out in public domain but not their names. “In no circumstances, names of the employees facing charges shall be disclosed,” Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said. He directed that year-wise numeric data about pending as well as disposed of departmental, vigilance, court cases against their employees initiated at the instance of the employer, rank held by the employee named in a charge sheet and details of outcome in terms of finding should be on websites.
The commissioner said dynamic numeric data relating to departmental and vigilance proceedings fall within the purview of Section 4(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 which mandates the government departments to place information about their functioning in public domain. “Disclosure of such data shall serve as a tool in better governance and thus undoubtedly serve the larger public interest,” he said. Azad was adjudicating the cases of Ashok Kumar Reddy, who wanted information from various departments about officials facing corruption charges. He had filed 51 RTI applications for the same but they were wrongly addressed only to the chief secretary, the government of Delhi who had no access to the information.
“The complainant (Reddy), who seems to be on a mission to catalogue a directory of ‘corrupt officers’ in the employment of government of India, sent as many as 51 RTI applications aimed to gather details of all tainted employees,” he said. Azad said he left the modalities of executing his orders on the public authority concerned.