The Central Information Commission has issued notice to the ACP of the licensing branch of Delhi Police for refusing to release information requested by a south Delhi resident about an application for arms licence.
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H K Nijhawan had filed an RTI seeking a copy of the arms licence issued to him in 2011. The licence was later cancelled. Nijhawan told The Indian Express his arms licence was cancelled after he filed a PIL before the Delhi High Court alleging that “anti-social elements” in Delhi were keeping firearms by using fake arms licences procured from other states.
Following the PIL, Delhi Police had informed the court that it was looking into the issue of fake arms licences and had cancelled over 300 ‘fake licences’ procured from outside Delhi.
In his arguments before the CIC, Nijhawan had alleged that police cancelled his licence to “create pressure” on him to withdraw the PIL. The CIC in its order issued on September 23 held that Delhi Police licensing branch could not have denied copies of the file pertaining to Nijhawan’s own licence under the RTI Act.
Police had argued that Nijhawan’s RTI application was declined because the verification process for arms licence was “confidential government work” and disclosure of the identity of the person on whose complaint the licence had been cancelled would “endanger the life or physical safety of such a person”.
The commission observed that the “confidential” information regarding the complainant could have been removed from the documents before supplying a copy to the petitioner.