New Delhi (Agencies): The Union Public Service Commission's advice to the Central Government on penalizing tainted officials cannot be withheld from disclosure under the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has held.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by one Brijesh Kumar, seeking information relating to advice tendered by the UPSC for imposing major penalty on officers of the
India Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service since January 2001.

Kumar had also demanded copies of these reports and file notings made on them. The UPSC provided the list of the officials who were penalised and also 13 cases where the advice tendered by it was rejected by the officials.

The UPSC had opposed providing copies of its advice tendered to the Centre on imposing penalties on IAS, IFS and IPS officials terming it as "both fiduciary and personal information" which is exempt from disclosure under the transparency law.

The UPSC also said that information sought by RTI applicant is not maintained in a way it was demanded. The officials said they would have to scan thousands of files of these personnel of these service to collate the information.

Kumar agreed to limit his queries to 13 cases where advice of the UPSC to impose penalty was rejected by the Centre.

"We find it difficult to agree to the arguments of the CPIO that the letter sent by the UPSC advising the Central Government in disciplinary matters can be classified either as personal information or information held in fiduciary capacity," Chief Information Commissioner  Satyananda Mishra said in his order.

"The advice tendered by the UPSC for imposition of major penalty on such officers, whether accepted or not accepted by the Central Government, must be disclosed in order to promote
transparency in public life," he said.

Make public 'raw' marks

The 'raw' marks awarded by examiners in the civil services examinations conducted by the
Union Public Service Commission cannot be withheld as they do not come under any of the exemption clauses listed in the RTI Act, the Central Information Commission has held.

In an RTI application, one Ashish Gupta had sought to know from the UPSC details regarding the civil services examination of 2009 including raw marks awarded by the
examiner, moderated marks and cut-off marks. However, the information was denied to him.

The UPSC also claimed before CIC Satyananda Mishra that they do not have raw marks with them but have the moderated marks, an argument which was strongly opposed by Gupta.

Mishra rejected the arguments put forth by the UPSC saying there is no reason why all the marks should not be provided to an RTI applicant as only that information can be withheld which is exempted under the law.

"In the present case, the raw marks, the moderated marks and the cut-off marks do not fall in any of the exempted categories. Therefore, we do not see any particular reason why
the CPIO should have held back such information," Mishra said while ordering the disclosure of the information.