The Right To Information has gained entry into yet another well-guarded fortress.
The asset details of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers may now be available to public if the information panel has its way.
Last week, Chief Information Commissioner of India Wajahat Habubullah told the Union ministry of personnel to supply wealth details of former Nagpur municipal commissioner to an applicant.
Annual property returns of government employees were in public domain and there was no reason why they shouldn’t be disclosed, Habibullah, a former IAS officer, held.
IAS officers file their income returns, in sealed envelopes, with the state government and the Centre, their principal employer.
Habibullah said the move should be seen as a step towards containing corruption. “Such disclosures may reveal instances where property has been acquired, which is disproportionate to known sources of income,” the order said.
Sunil Kumar Mishra, director of a journalism school in Nagpur, had sought details of movable and immovable assets of former Nagpur municipal commissioner Lokesh Chandra and his wife Abha Shukla, also an IAS officer.
The couple is now on a deputation with the Centre.
The ministry rejected the query, saying the information sought was personal. Mishra then went in appeal last year.
He also filed a similar application with the state government. He was refused information. He went in appeal and Vidarbha Information Commissioner ruled in his favour.
The order is likely to be challenged in the high court.