MORE ACTION ON PRESENT PROVISIONS OF LOKPAL ACT : DELHI HIGH COURT STAYS PUBLICATION OF ASSET INFORMATION IN PUBLIC DOMAIN : CONFEDERATION WRITES TO CABINET SECRETARY AS REQUESTED BY WEST BENGAL CIRCLE UNION ON 21.8.2014 & 08.9.2014 TO FEDERATION
A Division Bench of Delhi High Court has issued stay order on 9th September on the provision of the Lokpal Act to public declaration of assets of spouses and dependent children of Govt staff. The petitioner, Vinita Singla, wife of a Central Govt employee and working in a major IT company of India, termed the Govt dictate in her petition (a violation of her 'fundamental rights of equality, life, personal liberty and privacy as flowing from Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.'
A division bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Vipin Sanghi issued notice to Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Communications and IT and Ministry of Law and Justice, seeking their replies by November 24. "Prima facie, there is merit in the petitioner's contention. She is a private citizen and declaration of her assets is violation of the Article 21 of the Constitution. Issue notice. Petitioner is directed to furnish the information in sealed cover which would be handed over to the authorities concerned. This order shall remain in force till final disposal of the case," the bench said.
The bench also directed the ministries concerned to ensure that the secrecy of documents is maintained. Selaed envelopes reaching all departments will not be opened till further order from the Bench.
The Confederation of Central Govt Employees & Workers has also raised the issue through a letter issued yesterday to the Cabinet Secretary requesting to take necessary action not to display asset information in public domain which would leave all staff vulnerable to security threats, kidnapping and demanding ransom etc.
It is worth mentioning that West Bengal Circle Union brought the issue into the notice of Federation at very early stage through e-mails on 21.8.2014 and 08.09.2014.