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RAW,IB shroud sexual harassment info

Both the agencies cited provisions under the RTI Act which exempt them from disclosure of information.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi |
June 30, 2010 3:01:03 pm

Country’s intelligence agencies,Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB),have refused to make public information related to any in-house case of sexual harassment in the last 10 years.

Both the agencies cited provisions under the RTI Act which exempt them from disclosure of information,provided they are not related to allegations of human rights violation or corruption.

“…it is stated that the requisite information pertains to Intelligence and Security Organisation under the Cabinet Secretariat…which is exempted from the purview of RTI Act…except on the grounds of allegations of human rights violation and corruption…,” a reply from the Chief PublicInformation Officer of Cabinet Secretariat,which controls RAW,said in response to an RTI query.

“The information sought does not pertain to either of the two categories (human rights and corruption). In view of the above,the Secretariat is,therefore,not under any obligation to disclose the information,” it said.

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RTI applicant Ashwini Shrivastava had sought information on cases related to allegations of sexual harassment,human rights violation and corruption reported against RAW and IB officers in the past ten years.

IB also denied the information on similar grounds.

“As per (certain) provisions of the RTI Act 2005,the Intelligence Bureau has been exempted from providing such information or detail. Hence it is regretted that the information sought cannot be provided,” Public Information Officer of IB said in its reply.

Besides IB and RAW,16 other organisations like Central Economic Intelligence Bureau,Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,Directorate of Enforcement,Narcotics Control Bureau,Aviation Research Centre,Special Frontier Force and seven central para-military forces are kept out of the ambit of RTI Act.

The 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.

On August 19,2008,RAW official Nisha Bhatia had allegedly attempted suicide before the Prime Minister’s Office here claiming sexual harassment by her superiors.

Bhatia has later filed a petition,which was dismissed by the Supreme Court for want of merit in her allegations.

The Central Information Commission has already held in one of its decision that sexual harassment amounts to human rights violation.

While hearing one such matter related to Bhatia,the CIC has said “… this entire application centres on allegations of sexual harassment which is a material basis for allegations of human rights violation. We have on earlier occasion also held that overt gender discrimination amounts to violation of human rights.”

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