New Delhi: The records with a Parliamentary
Committee can be provided to an RTI applicant once the report
is tabled on the floor of the House, the CIC held Tuesday, but
exempted cases where documents are declared confidential.
The case relates to RTI applicant Patanjali Sharma who
sought a certified copy, from Rajya Sabha, of a rule of the
Central Secretariat Services furnished to a Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Home Affairs by Department of Personnel.
"I am seeking the information relating to the inputs
supplied by the Department of Personnel and Training, on the
basis of which the (committee) prepared its 83rd Report,"
Sharma told the Rajya Sabha.
He said there were gross factual errors in the report
which are adversely affecting his career advancement.
Rajya Sabha gave some information but did not allow
inspection of record saying these were "considered"
"The deliberations of the Committee come in public
domain only in the form of reports, which contain in detail
the matters considered by it at different stages. The reports
also carry with them records of the proceedings of the
Committee in the form of minutes," it said.
The CIC rejected the arguments saying the report was
placed on the floor of the House in 2001 and there was nothing
to suggest that it could be withheld from Parliament.
"Inspection of the file, which is part of access to
information... together with taking certified copies of the
documents or records... is evidently accessible to appellant,"
Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said while
rejecting the arguments.
Habibullah said the Committee had decided to place this
before Parliament as long ago as 2001.
"Once that has been done, it cannot be argued that any
component of that Committee’s proceedings resulting in the
report being placed before Parliament is to be withheld from
Parliament, unless so specified," he said.
The CIC said the report does not stipulate whether
Committee has not decided or has decided against placing a
report, or any of its components, before Parliament.
He directed the Central Public Information Officer to
allow the inspection of the records after seeking permission
of the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Standing
Committee on Home Affairs within 10 days.