ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has dismissed the review application of Chairman Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) against the order to provide particulars of low-merit/failed candidates in the test/interview for appointment as Judicial Members (BS-21) in Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR).

It is reliably learnt that earlier PIC has ordered Chairman FPSC to disclose the particulars of low merit/failed candidates in the written examination for appointment as Judicial Members (BS-21) in ATIR. The order came after tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt lodged a complaint with the Prime Minister Citizen Portal against FPSC Chairman, alleging that the commission is not providing this information.

PIC order states “The three members of PIC unanimously decided the Appeal No. 1365-10-2021 titled “Waheed Shahzad Butt Vs. Federal Public Service Commission” vide order dated 29.12.2021 announced on 11.01.2022. The Review Petition under section 20(2) of the Right to Access to Information Act, 2017 on behalf of the FPSC through letter dated 31.01.2022 cannot be entertained at this junction after the final decision on the appeal, application hence is not maintainable”.

Waheed Butt had approached the PIC after the FPSC denied access to the details under the umbrella of personal privacy. In its order, the PIC stated that although the word ‘personal privacy’ was not defined in the law governing the right of access to information, the sanctity of personal privacy must be attached to the information related to the person of an individual.

It explained that personal privacy included the CNIC, phone number, bank account number, address or any other information related to the family of the individual. However, it did not include the detail of tests, interviews and merits of competition or examinations.

The information concerning the complete particulars of low merit/failed candidates in the test/written examination/interview cannot be termed as classified or matter of private privacy rather become public record. “Transparency in the working of the governments is the essence of the law. Its spirit is to ensure that the people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have access to the records held by the federal public bodies for making the government accountable to the people.”

The PIC said allowing access to information would improve the participation of the people in public affairs aimed at reducing corruption, nepotism, misuse of authority and inefficiency in the governance.

The appeal is allowed. The Chairman FPSC directed to provide the complete particulars of low merit/failed candidates in the test/written examination / interview under cases F.4-195/2018-R and Case No F.4-15/2020-R forthwith, the order added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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