The Central Information Commission has allowed the Cabinet Secretariat not to make public the deliberations and file notes related to the resignation of former Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami. Goswami was asked to resign following allegations of obstruction of the case of arrest of a former minister by the CBI.
The CIC took this decision on the basis of the Delhi High Court's decision in another case in which the court held that discussion or file noting of a group of officers or disciplinary authority could not be disclosed. The court, however, allowed the applicant to provide the information sought about the action taken against any officer.
Chief Information Commissioner YK Sinha also cited a Supreme Court order behind his decision to withhold the information sought, stating that professional records such as qualifications, performance, assessment reports, ACRs, disciplinary proceedings, etc., are personal information. . Such personal information is entitled to protection from unnecessary interference in privacy and conditional access to it is available when the wider public interest is satisfied.
Goswami was forced to resign in February 2015 after he was allegedly obstructed by the CBI arresting a former Union minister.
RTI applicant and IPS officer Anurag Thakur had sought details of the action taken on the complaint against Goswami from the Cabinet Secretariat, which included communication between various authorities and noting of the file. Thakur appealed to the CIC on not getting a satisfactory reply.
During the hearing, he argued that he wanted other information in the public interest, including file notes, to find out what events led to Anil Goswami's forced resignation. The disclosure of information available in a noting sheet or file is completed.
He said, in this circumstance, the answer provided by the defendant was found to be justified and there is no shortage of any kind. As such, there is no need to interfere with it.