CIC to CBDT: Disclose number of chargesheets quashed by CAT
February, 20th 2013
The Central Information Commission has directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes to disclose the number of chargesheets quashed by the Central Administrative Tribunal because they were not signed by the Finance Minister. Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur gave this direction on February 7 on an appeal filed by The Indian Express.
At least 50 chargesheets against 30 officers of the Indian Revenue Service have been quashed by various benches of the CAT because those were not signed by the FM ('For want of a signature, CBDT sits on babus' chargesheets', The Indian Express, December 15, 2011). However, the CBDT refused to provide related information under the RTI Act, and declined to state how many such decisions were challenged in the courts and how many suspensions/ dismissals revoked on the basis of CAT orders. With the CBDT repeatedly stating its inability to provide the information, the CIC directed it to do so and said the application be forwarded to the concerned CPIOs for information the CBDT (Vigilance) may not have.
The CIC has given three weeks to the CPIO to provide the information.
While the Vigilance section of the DoPT and MHA, which are cadre controlling authorities for IAS and IPS officers, respectively, provide information about disciplinary cases against their officials, it is the CBDT which, reportedly, always rejects similar applications. When The Indian Express filed its queries to the CBDT, it said that requisite information was not part of records. Questioning poor data management of vigilance cases in the CBDT, an appeal was filed.