CBI not completely exempted from disclosing information under RTI: Delhi HC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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CBI not completely exempted from disclosing information under RTI: Delhi HC

Feb 03, 2024 11:27 AM IST

Section 24 of the RTI Act provides immunity to intelligence and security organisations, including the CBI however it mandates such agencies to disclose the information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations held by it

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has to provide information related to corruption and human rights violations held by it under the Right to Information (RTI) Act when such a request is raised, the Delhi high court said, adding that the probe agency is not completely excluded from the statute’s purview.

Delhi high Court (Representative Photo)
Delhi high Court (Representative Photo)

Section 24 of the RTI Act provides immunity to intelligence and security organisations, including the CBI however it mandates such agencies to disclose the information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations held by it.

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

“The proviso to Section 24 permits information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violation 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 the RTI Act,” the bench said.

The CBI had approached the Delhi high court challenging the November 2019 order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) asking it to disclose the information to whistleblower IFS officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi regarding the probe conducted by it into the alleged corruption at Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Science (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 for did not deal with any sensitive investigation.

The CBI, appearing through special public prosecutor (SPP) Anupam S Sharma, had submitted that the agency was exempted from the provisions of the RTI Act as its name figured in the second schedule.

Sharma also argued that the proviso was not applicable as the CBI discharged functions under the Delhi Special Police Establishments Act, 1946 and it could not reveal the investigations done by it under the RTI Act.

He further argued that the investigation conducted by it could not be disclosed as intelligence played a very vital role in the probe into corruption cases and the CBI registered important cases based on the same.

“This is not a case where sensitive information has been collected by the CBI and the disclosure of which would be prejudicial for the officers involved,” the bench noted.

“This is also not a case where information is so sensitive that it cannot be shared with the public at large. 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 bench held in the 15-page verdict uploaded on Friday.

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