Even if linking with Aadhaar is necessary, it should not result in delaying the payment of pension or denial of information regarding pension, said Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu.
The Central Information Commission has observed that the public authority cannot delay the payment of pensions to the senior citizens and retired employees in the name of linking to Aadhaar.
The pensioners might mainly depend upon the pension for their livelihood and delaying it will be inhumane and also amounts to denial of their fundamental right to life. Even if linking with Aadhaar is necessary, it should not result in delaying the payment of pension or denial of information regarding pension, said Prof M Sridhar Acharyulu while disposing of an appeal preferred by a retired employee.
In this case, the employee had sought the details of names of the persons whose pension was held up for want of Aadhaar card for the month of March 2017. The CPIO denied information on the ground that it would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual, hence cannot be supplied.
The CIC, in this regard, observed: “Pension is part of the salary as consideration for the services rendered and continuation of payments to the retired public servants, and that would paid out of public exchequer as per the pre-fixed scale and other aspects. The salary detail of the public servant is not his personal information. It has to be in the public domain under Section 4. On the same logic the pension-related information is not personal information of the pensioner. The CPIO should not have denied that information wrongly invoking Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act.”
The CPIO, in this case, had admitted that the pension-related information about others was denied under the privacy provision and cited tremendous work pressure and burden of investigating a fraud as the disturbing factors. The commission then imposed nominal penalty of Rs. 250 for such wrongful denial of information.