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CIC can seek disproportionate assets account: Habibullah

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, May 11 (UNI) Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah today said that the Central Information Commission (CIC) has the authority to seek the disproportionate assets accounts of anybody if the same has been sought by a petitioner.

''The Commission can seek such information and it can even reveal it if the case is in public interest,'' he said, while talking to the newsmen after the launch of the official website of the State Information Commission, Punjab here.

Mr Habibullah said the Official Secrets Act would continue to be implemented in its existing form, while there had been a few instances when the CIC had denied an information to the petitioner, keeping in view the provisions of the Act.

He even said that the banks had been assured that the bank account were private information of the clients and the same would not be sought by the Commission unless there was an exceptional case in public interest.

Clarifying that there was no legislation as such for the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioners in states, he said such appointments were made with the consent of the Leader of Opposition in states as per the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Addressing the gathering at the lauch of the Punjab Information Commission website www.infocommpunjab.com, he said he was impressed with the manner in which the Punjab state Information Commission had come up in such a short span of time. The system for management and disposal of references developed in Punjab could become a useful model for Information Commissions in other states which were in the process of establishing themselves, he said.

Punjab Governor Gen (retd) S F Rodrigues, who also inaugurated the office of State Information Commission Punjab on the occasion, commended the Commission for effective use of information technology for the convenience of the common public in obtaining information from government offices in the state.

Pointing out that the RTI Act had placed power in the hands of all citizens, he expressed confidence that the people of the state would use this ''valuable instrument'' to bring about transparency and accountability in all public bodies. He exhorted citizens of the state to approach government offices with confidence.

Commending the role of Punjab Chief Information Commissioner Rajan Kashyap in establishing the office, he urged the state government to speed up the process of decentralisation of powers to Panchayati Raj Institutions in rural areas and Municipal Local Bodies in urban areas.

Linked with the Right to Information, decentralisation would improve the delivery of public services to the common man, Gen Rodrigues added.

UNI PS VD HT1645

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