Wednesday, June 29, 2011


HC to examine CBI's exemption from RTI ambit

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 29, 2011

A month after the Centre approved CBI's request to exempt it from the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Delhi High Court is set to examine its validity.
Sitab Ali Chaudhary, a lawyer, has filed a PIL, making the Centre, the home and law ministries, CBI and National Investigating Agency answerable to the petition. A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra will hear the PIL on July 6.

The PIL said the RTI Act only gives exemption to organisations dealing with defence, security and national intelligence issues and that the CBI nowhere came within its ambit.

The Cabinet had earlier this month approved CBI's request to be exempted from the RTI Act. The move had attracted widespread condemnation from activists and civil society representatives.

In a similar PIL, the Madras High Court has already, on June 25, asked both the Centre and the CBI to explain this exemption. Petitioner and RTI activist S Vijayalakshmi had contended that since the expose of Commonwealth Games and other scams and the Lokpal movement, the Centre has become "jittery and rudderless" in the war on corruption.

--- On Wed, 29/6/11, M.K. Gupta <> wrote:

From: M.K. Gupta <>
Subject: Re: [HumJanenge] What clinched the Govt's decision to exempt CBI under Sec 24 ?

From Economic Times, 29.6.2011, Edit Page.
Face Off
Should the CBI Come Under the Purview of RTI


Keeping it Outside RTI is the Right Move

The Madras High Court has issued a notice,to the Union government on a public interest litigation seeking to declare a recent notification exempting Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the purview of Right to Information Act as ultra vires.The position is,that CBI is not only an investigating agency,but also collects information about the corrupt practices and other violations.Some say that it is a retrograde step and the CBI should not be out of the purview of Right to Information Act.It is due to a mistaken impression,as the Right to Information is not an act to combat corruption and malpractices either in the government or in the society.Each law passed by Parliament has a specific purpose.It would be interesting for the agitators,to find out as to how many cases have been registered against corruption and other laws after getting information under RTI.Investigation of cases is done,as per the procedure laid down in the Criminal Procedure Code,within the parameters prescribed by the Indian Evidence Act.Investigation is never done,in the purview of the pubic or media glare.During investigation,CBI checks and cross-checks the facts stated by the witnesses or the alleged accused,before coming to any conclusion about his guilt or otherwise.It can also involve tests like DNA or referring the matter to Forensic Science Laboratory.Not only during the investigation a full picture of any crime is to be constructed,but also credible evidence gathered to prove that a crime has been committed.The so-called activists confuse between a moral wrong and a legal violation of law.In any case,CBI files a charge-sheet,within normally 60 to 90 days.Once the case goes to the court,each charged person is given a complete set of evidence,including the statement of witnesses,scientific evidence,if any,and other complete papers.So all papers of investigation come under the public domain and anybody can get papers from the court.If any new facts are brought out by the so-called activists,a reinvestigation can always be done.The decision taken to save the CBI from busy-bodies who have nothing to do but seek publicity is a right one.


Decision to Keep it Out is Unjustified

The decision to exempt the CBI from the provisions of the RTI Act are completely unjustified.The decision will harm the CBI as well as the RTI Act.In fact,all institutions in the country should be under the purview of the RTI Act.In any case,the exemption for intelligence and security agencies contained under section 24 of the Act cannot apply to an investigating agency.The CBI might carry out some work that requires gathering of intelligence,and it may well investigate many sensitive cases related to security of the state.However,the RTI Act contains adequate safeguards that can protect it from divulging sensitive information.Section 8 of the RTI Act exempts the disclosure of information that would prejudicially affect the security of the state,friendly relations with foreign countries,law and order,safety of an informer,investigation of a crime,etc.There is a fundamental difference between exempting certain classes of information and providing a blanket exemption to the whole agency.By exempting the agency,it is being freed from the standards of transparency and accountability borne out of scrutiny from the citizen.There are many cases the CBI investigates where it needs to work with ordinary citizens in an atmosphere of openness and mutual trust.The CBI enquiry ordered by the Supreme Court of India into corruption in six districts in Orissa is a case in point.In a scenario of poor credibility of investigating agencies,the CBI is still the first one called to investigate matters of grand corruption.As the former director of the CBI who worked under the RTI regime,Vijay Shankar,has said,the RTI will help the CBI perform better and with more credibility.At a time when the government is struggling to show that it can create an effective anti-corruption agency,this move will irreparably damage its own credibility.Finally,this misinterpretation of an intelligence and security agency could open the floodgates to a spate of departments wanting to claim exemption from the RTI.It will be the end of the capacity of the RTI Act to enforce transparency and ensure that accountability is to the people of the country.The government must revoke this decision.

--- On Tue, 28/6/11, M.K. Gupta <> wrote:

From: M.K. Gupta <>
Subject: Re: [HumJanenge] What clinched the Govt's decision to exempt CBI under Sec 24 ?
Date: Tuesday, 28 June, 2011, 5:23 PM

Thanks a lot, Singh Sahib for this very useful input.
It means an appeal/ complaint of Shri Subhash Chand Agrawal has wrongly been dismissed by the CIC which was filed before the issue of notification.  For details, read posting made by Shri Agrawal about a fortnight ago.

--- On Mon, 27/6/11, vinay singh <> wrote:

From: vinay singh <>
Subject: Re: [HumJanenge] What clinched the Govt's decision to exempt CBI under Sec 24 ?
Date: Monday, 27 June, 2011, 8:27 PM

The appeals will stand. There is a precedence. My appeal against the NSCS was filed before it was added to the list a few years ago. The NSCS tried to give the same argument. The CIC Wajahat Habibullah ruled that since the appeal was filed before the notification adding NSCS to the list of exempted organisations, the appeal will stand.
Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)On Sun, Jun 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM, M.K. Gupta <> wrote:
Now, what will be the status of pending RTI applications, first and second appeals and complaint filed before the notification as the date of effect of notification has not been mentioned?

On Sat, 25/6/11, C K Jam <> wrote:

From: C K Jam <>
Subject: Re: [HumJanenge] What clinched the Govt's decision to exempt CBI under Sec 24 ?
To: "" <>
Date: Saturday, 25 June, 2011, 7:38 PM

It is available as an attachment in this thread:


From: M.K. Gupta <>
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: [HumJanenge] What clinched the Govt's decision to exempt CBI under Sec 24 ?

I request for down-loading a copy of gazettee notification exempting CBI, NIA and NIG from the purview of RTI. I searched the same on CBI and DoPT website but could not find. 
Request Mr. C J Karaira, Sarbajit Roy and others for favour.
This will remove doubts about the date of its effectness and status of cases pending before the CIC. .

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