The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the country’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to disclose details of sexual harassment,human rights violation and corruption cases registered against its officials.
While hearing an appeal filed under the Right to Information Act on June 26,the CIC rejected the plea made by RAW of being an exempted organisation under the transparency act and directed it to provide all details related to the cases within 10 days.
The RAW was in May 2010 asked to share information on cases related to sexual harassment,human rights violation and corruption registered against its officials along with its status by an applicant.
Both the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and the first appellate authority (FAA) have declined to share the information citing exemption clause of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before Central Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra,the officials of the Cabinet Secretariat,which controls RAW,argued that their organisation being an exempted one was not required to disclose the desired information.
Besides,they also argued that this was an indirect attempt to elicit information from an exempted organisation,and,therefore,should not be acceded to.
“After carefully considering the facts of the case,we are of the view that the desired information is clearly covered under the proviso to section 24 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
“The desired information is about details of cases registered against officials of this organisation for corruption,human rights violation and sexual exploitation.
All these three categories of offences are covered by the proviso to section 24 and,therefore,any information in this regard will have to be disclosed,” the CIC held.
The Commission directed the CPIO concerned to provide to the appellant within 10 working days a list of those officials against whom cases have been registered by competent agencies for the offences in the last nine years.
“This list should include the name of the official concerned,his designation,the date or year of registration of the case,details of the charge and the status of the case at present and if the organisation itself has taken any action against the employee concerned,” the order further said.
Section 24 bars central intelligence and security agencies like National Investigation Agency,Natgrid and CBI,Central Economic Intelligence Bureau,Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,Directorate of Enforcement,Narcotics Control Bureau,Aviation Research Centre and Special Frontier Force from disclosing information under the RTI Act except for those related to sexual harassment,corruption and human rights violation.
Besides this,seven central para-military forces,Crime Branch-CID-CB,Dadra and Nagar Haveli,Special Branch,Lakshadweep Police,Special Service Bureau and Special Branch (CID),Andaman and Nicobar are also exempted under the Act.