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Want to stall husband’s transfer? CIC says RTI Act helpless

The Right to Information Act might not be the right forum to stall one’s husband’s transfer,after all.

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi |
April 14, 2009 12:09:44 am

The Right to Information Act (RTI) might not be the right forum to stall one’s husband’s transfer,after all. Or so learnt a Delhi woman who tried to probe the reason behind the outstation transfer of her husband S K Soni,an airport manager with the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

Alka Soni took out an RTI campaign to retain the “services of her husband in Delhi” all the way to the highest transparency body,the Central Information Commission,which ultimately declared her efforts as “unnecessary”.

In his recent judgment,Information Commissioner M M Ansari revealed that the RTI Act has no provision to redress Soni’s grievances. “Every public authority (in this case AAI) is free to deploy its manpower resources in any manner it deems appropriate for optimising efficiency and promoting accountability,” the Bench observed.

The CIC noted that the affected employee should look within the “framework of service conduct rules” instead of the RTI. “In such matters,the use of the provisions of RTI Act is uncalled for,” the Commission observed.

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During the sole hearing in the case,AAI brought to the fore through Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) V K Sharma that Soni’s husband had “in all probability accepted” the transfer since he had not made a request for retention of his services in the Capital. “The CPIO stated that the appellant’s (Soni) husband,who is directly affected in the matter,has not made any representation for retention of his services in Delhi,” the Bench noted in the verdict. This,the Commission observed,was “probably because he has already accepted the terms and conditions,including the transfer policy of the respondent (AAI)”.

The AAI had earlier disclosed its transfer policy and details of the transfer in question as per the appellant’s request but she was “dissatisfied”.

Sharma told the Bench that the AAI had repeatedly explained to Soni that they were unable to accommodate her husband in the Capital since there was no vacancy for him here. “The appellant (Soni),however,expressed total dissatisfaction with the replies of the CPIO without specifying what information was refused to her,” the Bench said,while agreeing with Sharma.

Signing off,the Bench offered Soni permission to inspect whatever documents she wants access to under the RTI Act,but agreed with the AAI that there was no denial of information to her.

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