New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Sunday said the travel details regarding Union Ministers should be maintained at the Cabinet Secretariat to make it easy for the information seekers to get required details.

As per the present practice, there is no centralized system to keep records of ministers' travel details, expenses among others and if an RTI applicant needs such records, the application has to be filed at the ministry concerned.

Even the travel details of the President are scattered across different ministries. While some information is held by the External Affairs Ministry, some of them remain with Defence Ministry while a portion regarding the gifts and presents remains with the President's Secretariat.

The statement came after activist Subhash Agrawal had sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the travel details of Union ministers for the last three years, but he was told that information was "scattered" across different ministries and he would have to collect it from them separately.

When the matter reached the Central Information Commission, the Cabinet Secretariat reiterated its position.

The Secretariat also noted that to collate the information, a large volume of records and documents would have to be scrutinised which would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority.

"While we tend to agree with the submission made by the respondents (Cabinet Secretariat), we think it would be in the interest of transparency if some key information about the domestic and international travel by Union ministers could be maintained centrally in Cabinet Secretariat itself”, CIC Satyananda Mishra said.

He directed the officials of the Cabinet Secretariat to bring this to the notice of the competent authority in the office for appropriate action.

Agencies