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Ex-Guj cadre IPS officer moves CIC as RTI plea for info on action recommended against him rejected

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Former Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rahul Sharma has approached the CIC after his RTI request, demanding copies of a state government proposal to the Home Ministry seeking disciplinary proceedings against him, was rejected on the grounds of being personal information.
The appeal was heard by Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava recently where Sharma argued that since he was seeking information about an order pertaining to him, the denial on the grounds of it being "personal information" was flawed.
The 1992-batch IPS officer quit the service in 2015 post several run-ins with the then Gujarat government after he had submitted a CD containing crucial call records related to the 2002 riots to the Nanavati Commission.
Sharma came into limelight when he submitted the CD of call data records of some ministers, state officials and leaders of right-wing groups like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP during the riots which also provided clues about their whereabouts in the period.
During the hearing before Bhargava, Sharma said after his voluntary retirement in 2015, the Gujarat government instituted departmental proceedings against him.
"However, as per Section 6(1)(b)(i) of the All India Services (Death cum Retirement Benefit) Rules 1958, such departmental proceedings cannot be instituted without the sanction of the Central Government," he told the CIC.
The state government had sent a proposal to Centre seeking the sanction for instituting disciplinary proceedings against him.
Through his RTI application, Sharma had sought copies of the aforesaid proposal, related documents and file notings maintained by the Home Ministry on the issue.
He said that at the first appeal stage the ministry added another clause for denying the information which was related to records being part of ongoing investigation.
Under the RTI, a person seeks information from the Central Public Information Officer of the department, if dissatisfied by the response, one can approach a designated senior officer in the department with first appeal and if the issue is not resolved, the person may approach the Central Information Commission with second appeal against the orders.
"The appellant contended that since no investigation is pending against him, the disclosure of information sought for would not impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders," Bhargava noted.
Faced with strong arguments, the Home Ministry officials had to make a hasty retreat from the CIC and sought more time from the Commission to furnish their response which was granted.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 8:40 PM IST

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