Details of wealth submitted by government employees cannot be made public.
Information if an officer has filed returns or not can be provided, but not the asset details, Bihar State Information Commissioner P.N. Narayanan has ruled.
He said property returns were filed in compliance with a government instruction to do so. “The citizen is entitled to know the state of compliance of any legal and valid order…”
“But as far as the content of the property return is concerned, the ground under our feet is not so firm,” he said.
An applicant had sought property and other personal details of an IAS officer, Pankaj Kumar, former managing director of Bihar State Financial Corporation.
In his order, issued on June 26, Narayanan said information furnished by the officer to the government, his employer, was “on compulsion” and couldn’t be brought to the public domain unless the employee had broken some law, fallen foul of some rule, or faces grave danger to his health.
The Right To Information Act, he said, had not laid out clearly the circumstances under which confidential information provided by an employee to employer about his assets could be made public.
“… As the Right To Information Act is a new law, in due course there are bound to be guiding judgments… various high courts and the Supreme Court will lay down and clarify the law on such issues,” he said.