CBI not totally exempted from RTI Act: Delhi High Court | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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CBI not totally exempted from RTI Act: Delhi High Court

Feb 04, 2024 12:14 AM IST

Intelligence and security agencies are immune from the Act with the provisions that such agencies should disclose information.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not exempt from disclosing information it possesses about corruption and human rights violations under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Delhi high court has said.

A file photo of Delhi high court in New Delhi.
A file photo of Delhi high court in New Delhi.

Section 24 of RTI Act gives intelligence and security agencies such as CBI immunity from the Act, with the proviso that such agencies should disclose information held by them about allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

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“A perusal of Section 24 shows that even though the name of the organisation (CBI) finds mention in the Second Schedule to RTI Act, it does not mean that the entire Act is not applicable to such organisations,” a bench of justice Subramonium Prasad said in the January 30 order.

The judge said, “The proviso to Section 24 permits information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations to be made available to the applicant and the same cannot be included in the exception provided to organisations mentioned in the Second Schedule of RTI Act.”

CBI had approached the high court challenging the November 2019 order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) asking it to disclose information to whistle blower IFS (Indian Foreign Service) officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi regarding the probe conducted by it into the alleged corruption at Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS. Chaturvedi had flagged the allegations while he was a chief vigilance officer at AIIMS.

The court disposed of the petition saying that the information sought did not deal with any sensitive investigation.

“This is not a case where sensitive information has been collected by CBI and the disclosure of which would be prejudicial to the officers involved. This is also not a case where information is so sensitive that it cannot be shared with the public . The very purpose of the proviso is to permit information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations to be provided to the applicant,” the judge noted in the 15-page verdict uploaded on Friday.

CBI submitted that the agency was exempt from the provisions of RTI Act as its name figured in the second schedule. He also argued that the proviso was not applicable as CBI discharged functions under the Delhi Special Police Establishments Act, 1946, and it could not reveal the investigations done by it under RTI Act. The special public prosecutor argued on behalf of CBI that the investigation conducted by it could not be disclosed as intelligence played a very vital role for the probe into corruption cases and CBI registered important cases based on the same.

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