Whispersinthecorridors

DATE WITH RTI2

Disclosure of investigation findings

The appellant had sought a copy of the report submitted by the Government of Maharashtra regarding investigation of 7/11 bomb blast case at Mumbai. The appellant further sought a copy of the report/dossier submitted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in the year2009 regarding investigation of Indian Mujahideen group related to 7/11 bomb blast case. The appellant emphasized that the disclosure of the information sought for would serve the purpose of larger public interest as the disclosure would ensure justice to the innocent.

The State Govt. of Maharashtra declined to provide the information to the appellant on the ground that the Anti-Terrorist Squad was exempted from the purview of the RTI Act under Section 24(1) of the RTI Act. The respondent submitted that investigation in the matter was ongoing since 15-20 accused including foreign nationals are yet to be arrested. Thus, the disclosure of information was not warranted in accordance with Section 8 (1) (h) and Section 8 (1) (a) of the Act since access of information by the public including the perpetrators of the offence can prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the nation. The CIC ruled that keeping in view the sensitivities involved in the matter as also the factual position narrated by the respondent, no further intervention is warranted.

Comments

In case of taking a decision about disclosure of investigation findings, the judgment of the Delhi High Court in the matter of Ajay Madhusudan Marathe v. Sanjukta Ray and Ors, W.P. (C) 1464/2013 Decided On: 05.03.2013 would be relevant. It was held that the area in respect of which information is sought, could have security implications and the judgment in this regard is best left to the wisdom of the agencies concerned, who are tasked with the responsibility of sifting such information and thereafter arriving at a conclusion one way or the other.

Citation: Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui v. CPIO, O/o Internal Security, Division-I (IS VI Desk), Ministry of Home Affairs in Second Appeal No. CIC/MHOME/A/2017/166137, Date 31.07.2019.

Dr. Anuradha Verma (dranuradhaverma@yahoo.co.in) is an expert on RTI matters and has co-authored the books RIGHT TO INFORMATION - LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at the link: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/

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