Friday, August 13, 2010

Cops can’t hide behind RTI exemption: SIC

Cops can't hide behind RTI exemption: SIC

Gokul Vannan/Gangadhar S Patil

Express News Service

First Published: 12 Aug 2010 02:08:27 AM IST

CHENNAI: In a pathbreaking order, the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission has said that the Central Crime Branch of the City Police cannot refuse to part with information by taking cover under section 24 of the RTI act in cases related to human rights violations.

N Swaminathan, 58, claims he was arrested in July 2008 without investigation on the basis of a false complaint made by his business associate Sembiam Kesvan, against whom he had in fact made a complaint for cheating him of Rs 14 lakh.

On his release on bail, Swaminathan filed an RTI application in May 2010, asking for the documents pertaining to the case.

The CCB, however, denied him the information on the grounds that it would impede the investigation process.

Swaminathan then approached the State Information Commission, which questioned the CCB's reasons, asking how providing information on the case would impede the investigation when the petitioner had already been secured as an accused and was now out on bail.

Swaminathan had also submitted records to the Commission citing how he had been harassed. He also stated in his petition why the records he had asked for were vital to prove the human right violations committed against him.

Directing the Central Crime Branch to furnish the information to Swaminathan within 10 days, the Commission said: "Section 24 is intended to protect security and intelligence matters from transparency requirement to the detriment of national security and justice and is not intended to create a black box to hide the matters pertaining to criminal investigation."

The CCB could also not counter the petitioners' claim of human rights violation.

Courtesy_

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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