Shunted GAS officer resorts to RTI
For a state government which recently had a GAS promoteeIAS officer touching Chief Minister Narendra Modi's feet, this couldbe another bitter pill to swallow. NM Chavda was the only officer ofthe 11 who were selected by the UPSC in 2006 for promotion fromGujarat Administrative Service (GAS) to Indian Administrative Service(IAS), but was not appointed.He has scored a victory using Right to Information (RTI) Act.Chavda, whose father Motibhai Chavda was a minister in the MadhavsinhSolanki government, was number six on the list for promotion to IASfrom GAS prepared by UPSC.But as the state government withheld his integrity certificate,writing to the UPSC that there was one application pending againstChavda, his appointment was held in abeyance.After failing to get answers from the state government on the reasonsfor this, Chavda filed an application under RTI to the publicinformation officer (PIO) of UPSC.He sought a copy of proceedings of UPSC selection committee meetings(SCM) from 2003 to 2005 for promotion of state civil service officersto IAS. He also asked for copies of the correspondence from September1, 2003 till March 31, 2006 between UPSC and the state governmentregarding his selection.The PIO of UPSC refused to furnish details of SCM proceedings statingthat it contained information in respect to other officers and sharingof this required a policy decision to be taken by the centralgovernment, which was awaited. But that part of SCM from 2003 till2005 regarding officers included in the zone of consideration, thoseselected for appointment to the IAS can be supplied.Chavda's first appeal was disposed of by the UPSC upholding the PIO'sdecision. He was told that pending the decision of the government,UPSC had taken a policy decision that information should not bedisclosed to anybody till decided by department of personnel andtraining (DoPT).Before the CIC, Chavda appealed seeking that UPSC's decision be setaside and that at least information pertaining to him be given afterapplication of the severability clause.Responding to the appeal notice sent by CIC, the PIO of UPSC RichaMisra replied that without going into the merits of the groundsindicated in the appeal, following CIC's decision in the case of UPSCand Jyoti Legha, UPSC, through its order of October 16, 2007, haddecided to furnish copies of SCM proceedings.But this would be after severing the portion of the proceedings whichindicates the 'overall relative assessment'. Complete copies of theSCM proceedings minus the portion indicating overall relativeassessment could be provided. This being acceptable to Chavda, UPSCofficials handed it to him at the hearing.According to Chavda, who had been trying to get this information forthe last two years, the information would now help him in his casebefore the Gujarat High Court.