Delhi High Court today stayed an order of the Chief Information Commission (CIC) directing the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to make public its report on alleged harassment of whistle-blower IFoS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva stayed the operation of CIC’s April 21 order till the next date of hearing on August 9 on the IB’s plea challenging the decision.
The court said the issues of harassment and corruption raised in the matter required consideration and asked the Indian Forest Service officer to reply to the IB’s plea.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for IB, submitted that the agency was exempt from providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act even if it was sought by Chaturvedi in his own case.
While section 24 of RTI exempts intelligence and security organisations from the purview of the transparency law, a proviso (exception) to the section states that this exemption is not extended to material held by or under the control of such organisations, which pertained to allegations of human rights violations or corruption.
On April 21, CIC had directed IB to provide its report on the alleged harassment of Chaturvedi, saying it pertained to allegations of human rights violations and corruption.
Chaturvedi, who had exposed an alleged forestry scam in Haryana, had sought a copy of the IB report which was sent to Cabinet Secretary and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in August 2014 on the issue of allegedly “foisting false cases against him in retaliation to his investigation and reports against major corruption in the state”.
CIC in its order had observed that Chaturvedi was being harassed, his rights were being breached, false cases were foisted and thus it was, beyond doubt, a case of “corruption and human rights violation”, sufficient enough to invoke the proviso to section 24 to approve disclosure of IB report, since that pertains to corruption and human rights violation.
( Source – PTI )