In what can be termed as an attempt to protect the privacy of babus, the Ministry of Finance has declined to share details of bureaucrats and officers against whom a government ordered inquiry relating to financial irregularity and moral turpitude is going on by stating that “the information sought is personal information and has no relationship to any public activity or interest”.The Sunday Guardian had filed two RTI queries seeking the details of government investigations relating to financial impropriety and moral turpitude on the part of bureaucrats belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service.
However, in its reply, the Directorate General of Income Tax, Ministry of Finance, declined to share the information.
While disposing of another RTI query that had sought details of bureaucrats against whom departmental action has been taken for various reasons in the time period between January 2010 and July 2015, the MoF again declined to give the requested information, saying the information was of “no public use”. In the reply, which was signed by additional director, vigilance Anupam Kant Garg, the ministry stated that “such information cannot be disclosed to the applicant as this information is third party information and relates to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest”.
However, some bureaucrats disagree. “If an investigation of financial impropriety and moral turpitude is going on against a bureaucrat who is considered to be a public servant, then that information should be shared with the public. It certainly does not qualify as personal information. The RTI query had sought details of the professional conduct of the officers and not on their personal lives,” a Home Ministry official said.