The Department of Personnel and Training, which is the government's nodal agency for instructions on the Right to Information Act, has been 'misleading' several government offices with its website saying that file notings do not come under the law's ambit.
The Central Information Commission has made it clear through its decisions that disclosure of file notings under the RTI Act could be made to information seekers.
The issue once again came up before the CIC after the President's Secretariat, on an RTI application of one S S Bhamra, denied information pertaining to certain file notings on grounds that the DoPT website specifically talks of non-disclosure of such file notings.
"We have earlier advised DoPT to remove this misleading information from their site. We expect them to do so immediately if the result of this inclusion on their site has been to mislead even so august an office as that of the President of India," said Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah in a recent order.
Bhamra, an assistant in the President's Secretariat, had filed two applications under the act before the Central Public Information Officer of the President's Secretariat seeking disclosure of certain file notings with regard to its recruitment rules.
The CPIO and, thereafter, the appellate authority in the President's Secretariat while denying certain parts of the information sought, had said, "The appellant is hereby informed that the DoPT instructions exclude file notings from coming under the purview of information, which can be accessed by the individuals."
The Commission, in an earlier order passed on January 29 this year, had asked DoPT to amend its website by removing its contradictory instructions, which stated that the term 'information' does not include 'file notings.'
The CIC in its January decision, which came upon a RTI appeal of one Pyare Lal Verma against Railways ministry, had instructed DoPT to amend its website within a month.