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Cabinet decisions to come under RTI: Kerala information panel

Thiruvananthapuram : In a path-breaking move, Kerala Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Vinson M. Paul on Tuesday ruled that all state cabinet decisions will come under the purview of the Right to Information Act.

Acting on certain queries by RTI activists, the Kerala CIC has directed state authorities to make public within 10 days all cabinet decisions made during three months starting January 1.

Paul, who retired in the Director General of Police rank recently, was appointed the CIC just before the Kerala assembly elections notification came into effect.

The outgoing Oommen Chandy government had maintained that state cabinet decisions can be made public as and when the decisions are implemented.

RTI activists were worked up after the government turned down RTI applications on decisions made by the new Kerala government led by Pinarayi Vijayan, which assumed office on May 25, during the first cabinet meeting.

The RTI activists then approached CIC Paul, who ruled that the state government should also consider publishing the cabinet decisions within 48 hours on the state government website.

Paul’s ruling comes at a time when Vijayan has discontinued the past practice of a customary press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting, continued since the first Kerala government led by legendary Communist leader E.M.S. Namboodiripad in 1957.

Since assuming office, Vijayan has addressed just one post-cabinet press briefing — on May 25. After repeated media requests, he said he will meet the press once a month instead of holding the weekly press briefings.