The image of the nearly 1.2 million strong Indian Army has taken a beating following allegations of financial irregularities against some senior officers in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, Sukna land row among others. Exercising his right to information, an applicant had sought to know from the army the details of serving officers from the rank of brigadier and above who are facing allegations of corruption and inquiries that are either going on or completed.
"Information sought is not going to serve any public interest, for which the public information officer is not obliged to provide. Moreover, information sought is considered as voluminous in nature and compiling of the same will disproportionately divert the time and resources of this office and is exempted from disclosure," the army said in the reply.
According to the RTI Act, information about corruption should be provided to an information seeker even if it relates to intelligence and security organisations that are otherwise exempted from making any disclosure under the transparency law.
However, former and serving officers have a mixed opinion on the disclosure of such information about serving officers as some feel it may disturb the "chain of command" while others feel that barring names and unit details, other information can be given which will help in boosting the image of the force.
"Revealing names of officers facing probe in corruption cases may not be ethically correct because an accused is deemed to be innocent till proved guilty. But as far as providing statistical information about the numbers of such officers is concerned, it can be given. I don't think there should be much problem with that," said Major General (retired) G D Bakshi.
"Corruption in the army is the result of peace time culture that is creeping into the force, as it has not seen any substantial action since Operation Vijay over 10 years ago. The problem also lies with some of the former generals who have reached the top without facing any substantial action in their career. They had a peace time mindset which distorts our value system and is corrosive," he claimed.A serving officer, requesting anonymity, said the issue of corruption in higher ranks of the army was quite serious and disclosing information about officers facing such allegations will help the army itself, as it would show that such "rotten eggs" were just an aberration.