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Order on Appeal No 2212-09/2022 Muhammad Ahmed Sultan Vs Ministry of Energy (Power Division)

The appellant has desired the information and record pertaining to job for the period he has served the public body. He has requested his salary slips, the record of his travelling and daily allowances and information as to whether he has been relieved from service after conducting regular inquiry or has been victimized arbitrarily, unlawfully and by misuse of authority and power.

The appeal is allowed. The Managing Director, National Engineering Services is directed to furnish the appellant his salary slips, the record of his travelling and daily allowances and all record and information pertaining to his relieve from service.

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Order on Appeal No 2114-08/22 Ahmed Saeed Vs Federal Board of Revenue

This commission holds that the provision of Yes/No answer to the Appellant, based on the records available with the Respondent, FBR is warranted under the provisions of the Act, 2017 and also as it is a matter of public importance under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the following grounds:

  • Section 25 of the Act, 2017 trumps and overrides provisions of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 with regard to disclosure, or, otherwise of information/records held by the Respondent, FBR.
  • The secrecy clauses of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001  can supplement but cannot supplant provisions of the Act, 2017.
  • the appellant has not sought access to documents but only sought whether or not the public money /tax is collected on the amount received (as show in the documentary evidence provided by the appellant) which only requires Yes/No answer, based on the records available with the Respondent, FBR.
  • The question of privacy concerns does not arise as if the answer is in the affirmative, instead of bringing into disrepute name of the individual concerned, would enhance his reputation as a person who abides by the laws of the land and pays due taxes. (The Respondent, FBR celebrates and acknowledges citizens who pay their taxes)
  • If the answer of the Respondent, FBR, based on the records available, is in the negative, it would bring to the fore the fact that the amount in question is either still kept hidden from the FBR, or, officials concerned are not performing their functions properly and efficiently, hence help promote public accountability, one of the core objectives behind the enactment of the Act, 2017

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Order on Appeal No 2231-09/22 Muhammad Husnain Asif Vs Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

This commission holds that the requested information about records submitted/generated during the recruitment process are not hit by any of the exemption clauses of “the Act, 2017”, including its Section 7 (g).

This commission issued a detailed Order in Appeal No. 942-03/21, Abdullah Rashed Waraich Vs. Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation which was upheld by the Honourable Islamabad High Court. In this Order, the commission held that information such as regional quota roster maintained by a public body, consolidated result of written test of the posts,  attendance sheet of written tests,  online applications submitted by candidates who were shortlisted for interview, educational certificates/degrees of the candidates who were shortlisted for interview,  answer sheets of all candidates who were called for interview,  attendance sheet of interviews,  evaluation Proforma containing detail of academic records, marks obtained in written as well as in interviews by the candidates shortlisted for interview,  duly signed by Departmental Selection Committee,   recommendations of the Departmental Selection Committee regarding selection of candidates is a matter of public importance.

This commission holds that the disclosure of marks assigned by each member of the Selection Board to Each candidate, appeared for interview for the post of Assistant Director Legal at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority would shed light on the level of transparency adopted in the entire recruitment process and hence help achieve stated objectives of the Act enunciated in its Preamble which are as under:

Making government more accountable to citizens’;

  1. Greater level of participation of citizens in the affairs of the government’;
  2. ‘Reducing corruption and inefficiency’;
  3. Promoting sound economic growth’; and
  4. Promoting good governance and respect for human rights.

 

This commission has observed that public officials have limited understanding about right to privacy when juxtaposed with the right of access to information held by public bodies. Privacy/personal information is understood to be, broadly speaking, information/data pertaining to access control (username and/or password), financial information such as bank account, credit card, debit card, or other payment instruments, and, passports, biometric data, and physical, psychological, and mental health conditions, medical records, and any detail pertaining to an individual’s ethnicity, religious beliefs etc.

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Order on Appeal No 2195-09/22 Faizan Kirmani Vs National Accountability Bureau

Responding to the information request of the Appellant pertaining to the “rules have been framed in terms Section 33C of NAB Ordinance 1999 in order to pay reward to member of public for rendering commendable services in detection, investigation and prosecution of any offence under NAB Ordinance 1999”, the Respondent, NAB submitted that “reward to informer is being awarded on merit in respect of case to case basis as per Rule 4 (e) of National Accountability Bureau (Recovery Reward) Rules, 2000”.

The representative of the Respondent also submitted before this commission that Rule 4 (e) of National Accountability Bureau (Recovery Reward) Rules, 2000 is not published on its web site.

This Commission has observed that information of public importance mentioned in Section 5 of the Act is not being published through the web site of federal public bodies. In fact, the Web sites of federal public bodies contain generic information and not specific information as required under Section 5 of the Act. This is despite the fact that Principal Officer of each public body was required to ensure proactive disclosure of information through web site within 6 months of the commencement of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

The Respondent, NAB was directed to ensure that information/records mentioned in Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017, including Rule 4 (e) of National Accountability Bureau (Recovery Reward) Rules, 2000, is published on its web site and submit the compliance report to the commission in the Template for the Compliance Report-Proactive Disclosure of Information under Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017’. This template is available under ‘Information Desk’ category at the web site of the commission www.rti.gov.pk.  The compliance report be submitted to this commission within 10 working days of the receipt of this Order.

The Respondent, NAB was directed to ensure accessibility of the information proactively published on its web site under Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 for all citizens, including the blind, low-vision, physically disabled, speech and hearing impaired and people with other disabilities and submit compliance report to this effect using ‘Web accessibility checklist’. This checklist is available under ‘Information Desk’ category at the web site of the commission www.rti.gov.pk. The compliance report be submitted to this commission at the earliest but not later than 10 working days of the receipt of this Order.

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Order on Appeal No 2159-08/22 Ahmed Sultan Vs National Engineering Services Pakistan

The record on the file shows that the Respondent has provided some of the information but has not provided all the requested information by the Appellant. Furthermore, the Foundation is a separate entity and not custodian of some of the information requested about the recruitment/employees from the Respondent.

This commission holds that the disclosure of the requested information would shed light on the level of transparency adopted in the entire recruitment process and hence help achieve stated objectives of the Act enunciated in its Preamble which are as under:

  1. Making government more accountable to citizens’;
  2. Greater level of participation of citizens in the affairs of the government’;

c.‘Reducing corruption and inefficiency’;

  1. Promoting sound economic growth’; and
  2. Promoting good governance and respect for human rights.

The Respondent was directed to provide the Appellant requested information in items b, c, d, e, h, I, j, k, p and q of the para 2 of this Order, at the earliest but not later than 7 working days of the receipt of this order and submit compliance report to this effect to this commission.

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Order on Appeal No 1976-06/22 Faisal Hassan Vs Peshawar Electric Supply Company

This commission holds that the requested information about daily Load shedding schedule, restoration of electricity, action taken on the application of the Appellant, based on the records available, any approved proposal, procedures about the handling of complaints and other functions of the Respondent is not only public information, this information should have been proactively published on the web site of the Respondent.

This Commission has observed that information of public importance mentioned in Section 5 of the Act is not being published through the web site of federal public bodies. In fact, the Web sites of federal public bodies contain generic information and not specific information as required under Section 5 of the Act. This is despite the fact that Principal Officer of each public body was required to ensure proactive disclosure of information through web site within 6 months of the commencement of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

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Appeal No 2099-08/22 & 2157-08/22 Ali Abbas Khan Vs Capital Development Authority & Federal Investigation Agency

The Respondent-1, CDA has submitted before this commission that “the said inquiry was conducted by the FIA so full details of the investigation may be sought from the said agency”.

This commission holds that the records available on the file suggests that the Respondent-2, FIA closed the enquiry and the matter was transferred to CDA to conduct any enquiry, if needed with all the relevant records. This means that final action, if any, on this enquiry has been taken by the Respondent-1, CDA and it is the custodian of this enquiry report.

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Order on Appeal No 2229-09/22 Saddia Mazhar Vs National Database and Registration Authority

In the instant appeal, the appellant Ms. Saddia Mazhar has sought the following information from the NADRA,

  1. Total number of the transgender persons registered with NADRA. (Gender wise breakup )
  2. How many of them are those who were earlier registered as Male and having kids/children.
  3. How many transgenders are registered as Married in the NADRA database.
  4. How many people have changed their gender from Male to Female since Jan 2018 to date.
  5. How many people have changed their gender from Female to Male since Jan 2018 to date.
  6. List of the gender categories currently NADRA have to register transgender persons.

 The respondent neither provide the requested information to the appellant nor responded to the notices of this Commission.

This Commission allowed the appeal and directed the Public Information Information Officer of NADRA to provide complete information to the appellant within 7 working days.

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Order on Appeal No 2202-09/22 Nadeem Umer Vs National Electric Power Regulatory Authority

The appellant has sought List of the independent power producers in Pakistan and Certified copies of all agreements signed with independent power producers so far.

He also sought copy of the inquiry committee report that was formed by the Imran Khan led government to investigate independent power producers (IPPs) in 2019/2020.

This Commission allowed the appeal and directed the Deputy Secretary (Coord), Minsitry of Energy (Power Division) and Managing Director, Central Power Purchasing Agency to provide complete information to the Appellant, at the earliest but not later than 7 working days of the receipt of this Order.

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Order on Appeal No 1091-05/21 Mukhtar Ahmed Ali Vs Establishment Division

The appellant in the instant appeal has requested the following information from Establishment Division

  1. Minutes of the meeting of the Central Selection Board (CSB) held on 4th to 7th January 2021;
  2. List of the civil servants who were considered for promotion to the BS-20 but were either superseded or deferred by the CSB during its meeting held on 4th to 7th January 2021;
  3. Copies of ALL “PER Grading and Quantification Forms for Promotions to BS-20” [duly filled in, in accordance with the requirement of Civil Servants Promotion (BPS-18 to BPS-21) Rules, 2019), and as developed and presented to the CSB in its meeting held on 4th to 7th January 2021.
  4. Copies of ALL “Panel Performa For Central Selection Board For Promotions to BS-20 Posts” [duly filled in, in accordance with the requirement of Civil Servants Promotion (BPS-18 to BPS-21) Rules, 2019), as developed and presented to the CSB in its meeting held on 4th to 7th January 2021.

Despite multiple hearings the The Respondent neither provided the requested information nor produced the reasons recorded by the Ministry-in-Charge declaring the requested information as classified in terms of Section 7 of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

The Appeal is allowed. Deputy Secretary (Review Board) / Public Information Officer, Establishment Division is directed to provide complete information to the Appellant, at the earliest but not later than 7 working days of the receipt of this Order.

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