Court notice to government on CBI exemption from RTI

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government on a public suit filed against the decision to exempt the CBI and the NIA from the purview of the RTI Act, the country’s transparency law.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna issued notice to the central government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the home and law ministries and the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT).

‘We are putting the matter for final disposal. The next date of hearing will be August 10, therefore the reply should be filed within two weeks from today (Wednesday),’ the bench said.

The petitioners, Ajay Kumar Agarwal and Sitab Ali Chaudhary, had challenged the June 9 government notification exempting the CBI, the NIA and the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), a proposed centralised data system for quick access to information on terror suspects, from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

‘Hiding information sought under the RTI Act is unconstitutional,’ the petition said.

‘The petition has been filed for the benefit of citizens incapable of accessing the court themselves,’ Chaudhary said.

Earlier this month, the cabinet approved the CBI’s request to be exempted from the RTI Act. The move was condemned by various RTI activists.

On a similar suit, the Madras High Court has asked both the central government and the CBI to explain the exemption from the RTI.