Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bhopal: ‘Nothing confidential about CM’s meet with home min, chief secy’

Free Press Journal: Bhopal: Tuesday, August 01, 2017.
Now the state government can no longer keep the CM’s meetings confidential, especially with home minister, chief secretary, director general of police (DGP), principal secretary (PS) of home affairs and director general (DG) of special task force (STF). The department of general administration (GAD) will have to make the details of these meetings public, under Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Information commissioner Heeralal Trivedi also instructed GAD to provide information related to three other matters, under RTI. He instructed to provide details of proceedings and action taken by the committees of senior secretaries in the cases they received from agencies which investigated corruption including CBI, Lokayukta, EOW or chief technical examiner.
GAD will also have to show the details of files which approved the purchase of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the file which comprised details related to the extension of tenure of Lokayukta. Bhopal-based RTI activist Ajay Dube had sought information from GAD over these points but the department refused, citing public welfare as reason.
Dube then filed an appeal with the information commission after which the aforesaid instructions were issued. Trivedi also mentioned that the public information officer had failed to cite the sub-section under which he couldn’t provide this information. Trivedi’s order further said there were no such restrictions in providing these details except the ones related to security of the state.
There should not be any complication in providing the details of those meetings of committees which were organised for perusal of cases on which anti-corruption agencies were working. The meetings should rather be advertised, stated the order.
Trivedi also said concealing details like EVM purchase and tenure extension of Lokayukta would send a wrong message in society. Now, the order is likely to unearth details of the meetings post January 1, 2014 including that with the home department in which STF had also participated.
STF was the investigating agency before CBI took over Vyapam probe and with the fresh order the decisions made during meetings before the HC started its monitoring can reveal many things.
EVM purchase and Lokayukta tenure extension details to be made public
Vyapam related discussion between CM and STF too to be made public
State security issue apart, there is no restriction in providing details, said information commissioner
Bhopal-based RTI activist Ajay Dube had filed plaint with info commissioner
Plaint filed after GAD denied reply to RTI query filed by Dube.