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Dialling 100 to complain? Your call details may be shared

Dialling 100 may not be as confidential as you think. The Central Information Commission has categorised telephone calls to the police control room as a “public activity”.

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi |
June 12, 2009 1:33:29 am

Dialling 100 may not be as confidential as you think.

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has categorised telephone calls to the police control room (PCR) as a “public activity”. All call details can now be accessed through the Right to Information (RTI) Act even if it is at the cost of someone’s privacy.

This recent judgment comes after an appeal by an RTI applicant,who had requested information from the Delhi Police about a particular call to the PCR,wherein a woman had accused him of assault.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah recently ruled: “A telephone call to the Police Control Room is clearly a public activity.”

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The Bench observed that under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act,information could be exempted from disclosure provided it does not have any relationship with a public activity.

Wajahat Habibullah told Newsline on Thursday: “A call to the PCR is a formal complaint made to a public institution,the police. There is no reason for the police to keep it confidential unless the caller specifically requests his or her identity to be kept a secret for fear of compromising his or her security.”

However,the police’s Public Relations Officer and Assistant Commissioner Rajan Bhagat begs to differ. He said: “If divulging details of the PCR call impedes the process of investigation in a case,the details are kept confidential. If the suspect in the case himself asks for call details,it surely will not be disclosed. In such a case,the information is exempted of disclosure under the RTI Act.”

In this particular case,one Surindra Bhayana of Rohini had on September 20,2007 asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police (PCR) for information about a call made by a woman of the same locality,named Santosh.

He wanted the ‘daily diary’ register details about the call made at 4 pm by Santosh. She had alleged Bhayana attempted to “offend her and hit her with a knife”.

The police replied stating the alleged victim had objected to the call details from being shared.

Deputy Commissioner of Police and PIO (PCR),V K Mishra,also told the CIC that Santosh had specifically said the copy of her complaint should not be provided to Surindra Bhayana.

Bhayana,meanwhile,argued it was necessary for him to know the call details as he was “the aggrieved party and his character was assassinated by the complaint (PCR call)”.

The Commission noted that Santosh’s refusal was not a well-founded reason to deny Bhayana the information under RTI.

The Commission has directed Additional Commissioner of Police (Operations) Ujjwal Mishra to re-examine the case.

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First published on: 12-06-2009 at 01:33:29 am

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