Monday, April 5, 2010

Attendance of ministers in Cabinet meeting confidential

'Attendance of ministers in Cabinet meeting confidential'


Information on the attendance of ministers during cabinet meetings is beyond the purview of transparency law, the Cabinet Secretariat has held.

It has said that attendance of ministers during cabinet meetings is exempted from disclosure under the Right to Information Act as it is part of 'deliberations of Union Cabinet' which is an exempted information.

"The information is denied in terms of section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act as this is part of deliberations of the cabinet," Director at the Secretariat, Meera Ranjan Tshering said in an RTI reply to applicant Abhishek Shukla.

The section cited by the Secretariat exempts "cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the council of ministers, Secretaries and other officers" from disclosure.

However, there is an exception in cases "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".

A total of 34 cabinet meetings took place between June 1 last year to February 15 which were all chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the reply said.


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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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