The government has refused to disclose details of the decision-making process in allowing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically weak sections in the general category, PTI reported on Sunday.
A Right To Information application had sought details like the copy of the Cabinet note on the matter as well as correspondence from the Prime Minister’s Office. It was filed by Venkatesh Nayak, coordinator of the Access to Information Programme with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
Replying to Nayak’s query, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said it would be unable to provide the information as it was exempted under Section 8 (1) (i) of the Right To Information Act. The section prohibits disclosure of “Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the council of ministers, secretaries and other officers”.
However, the same section adds: “Provided that the decisions of council of ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over.”
Nayak said the government has not made available any press release about this subject on the website of either the Press Information Bureau or the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
“The government has denied to share the requisite information citing Section 8 (1) (i) of the RTI Act,” he said. “However, the exemption relating to Cabinet papers – which the officer concerned has quoted in his reply itself permits the disclosure of all the information I had sought, after the matter is complete or over.”
The government has implemented the 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of the general category in central government posts and services from February 1, 2019. The Supreme Court on February 8 had declined to order a stay on the Centre’s decision.
“The 10% quota amendment has already come into force,” said Nayak. “Nevertheless, the officer [who has replied to the application] seems to think that the matter is neither complete or over.”
Nayak said he will further appeal against the denial of information. He added that the Central Information Commission in June last year had directed all government departments to put in public domain all Cabinet papers and materials related to bills tabled in Parliament.