New Delhi: The Cabinet Secretary has refused
to make public the details of the appointment of former
Secretary of Justice department as Chairman of Inland
Waterways Authority, citing exemption of Cabinet papers from
the transparency law.
The Secretariat, in reply to an RTI application filed
by activist S C Agrawal said, "Bhupender Prasad, IAS has been
approved as Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India. The
Cabinet papers relating to this appointment are exempted from
disclosure under section 8(i) of the RTI Act."
The section cited by the secretariat exempts disclosure
of "Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the
Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.
"Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the
reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the
decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision
has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over: Provided
further that those matters which come under the exemptions
specified in this section shall not be disclosed."
The Secretariat also refused to give any specific reasons
for the transfer, saying, "reasons" do not come under the
definition of the information given in the RTI Act.
The Secretariat said it cannot share any information
about the appointment of the new Secretary in the Justice
department Neela Gangadharan, an IAS of Kerala cadre, saying
it would invade the privacy of the individual.
A 1976-batch IAS officer Bhupinder Prasad was the
first full-fledged Secretary of the Justice department, who
was transferred within three months of taking charge. She was
special secretary in the department when its charge was under
the Home Ministry.
The department which deals with judicial appointments
and other sensitive matters has been brought under the ambit
of Law Ministry from this year only.