The MP government might be harping on e-governance, but the general administration department (GAD) has expressed inability to share email details of the chief minister, ministers and government officials under right to information (RTI).
During a recent hearing at the State Information Commission (SIC), the public information officer of the GAD said the details could not be provided as they were not available in a compiled format. Following the reply, the chief information commissioner KD Khan reserved the order in the case.
Interestingly many of these email details are available in the annual diary published by the state government.
RTI activist Ajay Dubey had filed an application in February 2012, seeking details of these email ids, the details of the anonymous complaints received by the chief secretary’s office and the details of the monthly online diaries (reports) submitted by the government officials to the government.
After the information was not given by the GAD, a first appeal was filed with the appellate authority at the department. However, the information was refused on the grounds that the department did not have compiled information on e-mails. The applicant then filed a second appeal with the SIC and the hearing in this matter was held last week.
During the hearing, the public information officer (PIO), Rajesh Kaul (deputy secretary of GAD) verbally filed a reply mentioning unavailability of the compiled email id details as well as the other information sought in the original application. When contacted, Kaul confirmed to HT that details were refused under RTI because of lack of compiled data.
The applicant Ajay Dubey, however, has pointed out that much of the email details were available in public domain (in form of government diary) and in era of e-governance it was inexplicable that e-mail id details were not available with the GAD. He has decided to submit copies of the government diary pages to the commission before the final order in the matter is issued. He also pointed out that the records of anonymous complaints were properly compiled by the Prime Minister’s office.
Speaking to HT, Dubey also alleged that the information was probably not being given officially as many of the officials were using email ids of private foreign web hosts rather than the ids created by government agencies the National Informatics Centre (NIC) as apparent by government diary details. Pertinently, recent reports suggested that use of email providers with foreign servers for official communication would be banned by the Union government.