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Centre declines RTI seeking details on GSTN, cites security concerns

Home Ministry said that the details sought on the GSTN were related to national security

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

GST, tax

The Centre has rejected an plea seeking details of security clearance given to the GSTN, information-technology backbone of the Goods and Services (GST), citing national security.

In response to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Home Ministry said that the details sought on the were related to national security and cannot be given. Aggrieved over the denial of information, an appeal was filed.

The response given by the officer concerned is upheld and the appeal is disposed of, the Home Ministry said in response to the appeal filed by a PTI correspondent.

The Goods and Services Network (GSTN), a not-for- profit private limited company, has 51 per cent equity of five private institutions -- Ltd (10 per cent), Ltd (10 per cent), Ltd (10 per cent), Strategic Investment Corporation Ltd (10 per cent) and Limited (11 per cent).

The central has 24.5 per cent equity in GSTN, whereas state governments, two Union territories and empowered committee of state ministers together hold another 24.5 per cent stake in it.

An organisation representing indirect employees has raised concerns over the management pattern of the with majority stake in private hands.

It had said since the is funded by the central and state governments, there is no justification in entrusting its management to private individuals with heavy salary and allowances.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has also opposed the majority stake for private entities in the GSTN and has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over it.

The Home Ministry was asked to provide details of security clearance given to the GSTN through the application.

"It is informed that you have sought information regarding security clearance which relates to national security clearance.

"Any information related to security purpose is exempted from disclosure as per provisions of Section 8 (1) (g) of the RTI Act, 2005. Hence, the information sought cannot be provided," the Ministry had said.

The Section bars information disclosure which "would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes".

As per the provisions of the transparency law, an information seeker can file the first appeal with the authorities concerned in case he is dissatisfied with the reply given by a Central Public Information Officer of a department.

The second appeal against the order of First Appellate Authority is filed with the Central Information Commission (CIC).

First Published: Thu, May 18 2017. 15:10 IST