RAW exempted under RTI unless applicant seeks human rights, corruption info: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has said that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)is an exempted organisation, but if an RTI applicant seeks human rights or corruption-based information, it is liable to be disclosed.
New Delhi, May 4,2023: The Delhi High Court has said that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)is an exempted organisation, but if an RTI applicant seeks human rights or corruption-based information, it is liable to be disclosed.
The case pertains to an RTI applicant, who had sought for disclosure of information on the residences of a former RAW chief during a specific period of time.
Justice Pratibha M. Singh was hearing an appeal by Nisha Priya Bhatia challenging the order dated October 30, 2017, by which the Central Information Commission (CIC) had dismissed the appeal and held that she was not entitled to get the information sought.
According to Bhatia, a second appeal was preferred to the CIC when she received no reply from the Center Public Information Office (CPIO) and filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority to no avail.
The applicant has said that a letter was written on May 8, 2017, by the Director of Estates to the Registrar of CIC requesting the closure of her RTI application.
Thereafter, the CIC through the impugned order stated that the RAW is covered by Section 24 as an exempt organisation, and no case of human rights or corruption was made out in the present case to attract the exception.
The judge observed that Section 24 of the RTI Act provides that it does not apply to the security and intelligence organisations specified in its Second Schedule and RAW is one of them.
Accordingly, she refused to interfere with the CIC order denying to supply the information to the petitioner.
While Justice Singh upheld the CIC’s order, she said: “In the present petition, the nature of the information sought, i.e., the residences where the subject person who was the head of RAW which is a security agency, would not be covered in the exemption.
“In view of the above discussion, the impugned order does not deserve to be interfered with. The Petition is accordingly, disposed of. All pending applications are also disposed of.”