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Even before waiting for the outcome in the RTI case seeking property details of IAS and IPS officers, the officials of Haryana government have weeded out the files concerned. A division bench of the commission has expressed its displeasure to the officers of government and police department for weeding out the files before the outcome of the cases pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the panel.
The division bench consisting State Information Commissioners Hemant Atri and Yoginder Paul Gupta, in their order pronounced on Friday, directed the State Public Information Officers (SPIOs) of the state government’s Personnel Department and Director General of Police office to re-construct the files with the help of the applicants as well as the commission’s secretariat.
The case was heard on June 26 but the order was pronounced on Friday.
During the course of the hearing, according to the commission’s order, Personnel Department’s SPIO-cum-Superintendent Sumer Singh Yadav and the Police Department’s SPIO-cum-Superintendent Bharat Bhushan submitted that “the files of the present cases had been weeded out”. Four cases were clubbed for hearing into the matter.
An RTI activist, PP Kapoor, had approached the Commission after the government did not share property details of the IAS and IPS officers. Apart from Kapoor, officers of Home Department were also present when the case was heard on June 26.
It came to the notice of the commission bench that members of the India Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and perhaps other central services are already submitting their annual immovable property returns to the departments concerned. “These returns are being put on the websites of the respective departments,” observed the commission. The bench felt that “the view of the Haryana Government be sought on the feasibility of making a similar provision for its employees, particularly gazetted officers”.
The commission asked to seek comments of the Chief Secretary within six weeks.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Saturday, Kapoor said, “A large number of IAS and IPS officers don’t submit their property returns to the governments, hence their details are not put up on the websites. The exercise of weeding out files even before completion of hearing into the matter shows that the government is not serious in disclosing property details of the IAS and IPS officers.”
In response to Kapoor’s RTI application filed in 2009, the state government had sought consent of IAS officers to share the information but 33 IAS officers had refused for the same while 36 bureaucrats had given their consent.