Service book of govt servant not personal: CIC

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) In a major decision that couldspark privacy versus transparency debate, the CentralInformation Commission (CIC) has said the service details of apublic servant are not confidential and can be provided to anRTI applicant.

The country''s top watchdog had earlier taken outproperty details and income tax returns of public servantsfrom the ambit of confidentiality which has been challenged inthe Delhi High Court.

The CIC''s decision came while hearing the plea of an RTIapplicant who had sought from the Railways the service bookdetails of the Chief Law Assistant. The applicant also soughtto know if the post of Chief Law Assistant at the ChittaranjanLoco works was a tenure post.

The application was rejected by the Public InformationOfficer saying the information contained in the service bookof a public servant is personal and exempted from disclosureunder the section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.

"The Commission holds that service details of publicservants available in service books cannot be treated aspersonal information," Information Commissioner AnnapurnaDixit held.

She, however, ordered the disclosure of the service bookafter severing records which may be personal and exempted fromdisclosure under the provisions of the RTI Act.

The section cited by the Public Information Officerexempts information the disclosure of which has norelationship to any public activity or interest, or whichwould cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual.

However, if Central Public Information Officer or theappellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that thelarger public interest justifies the disclosure of suchinformation then it can be provided.

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