There was a healthy practice in Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make public complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day when quizzed through an RTI petition filed on the following day on 27th January when SK Bhatnagar was the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) there.
But suddenly MHA started declining information on RTI petitions filed on 27th January by taking excuse that ‘process is not complete and over’ meaning thereby that such information would be disclosed only after honouring done by President of India in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan (New Delhi) sometime in March-April! Even names of those recommending for Padma awards for the year 2015 are made public now after CIC-directions.
MHA should immediately put all details about selection-process for Padma Awards 2016 on website including also names of persons making respective recommendations. MHA-website should also be updated in respect of Padma Awards 2015 by putting names of those having made recommendations for Padma Awards 2015.
Now despite clear directive from Central Information Commission (CIC) through its various verdicts dated 16.02.2016, MHA has once again declined to make selection-process for Padma Awards 2016 public just after Republic Day. CIC should impose maximum penalty and direct disciplinary action against concerned MHA officials for defying CIC-verdict and continuing with a reverse stand in matters of transparency.
Rather MHA should itself take action against concerned officers for defying CIC-directive. Such an attitude of MHA officials unnecessary burdens an already over-burdened CIC. Who will pay for huge expenses of CIC for conducting hearings, and precious man-hours and conveyance of MHA officers and the petitioner spent for attending CIC-hearings for such stand of MHA officials?
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
1775 Kucha Lattushah
Dariba, Chandni Chowk
New Delhi-110006 (India)