With a slew of heinous attacks on Right to Information activists,the Calcutta High Court directed RTI queries to be initiated by giving only post box numbers to safeguard the applicant’s identity.
Taking up a writ petition by an RTI activist,a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Banerjee and Justice D Basak directed that henceforth an RTI query can be made by any person by giving only post box numbers.
Passing the order,the bench observed “we find logic in the submission of the petitioner that the applicant need not disclose any personal detail.”
“The authority should not insist upon his detailed whereabouts,particularly when the post box number is provided for,which would establish contact with him by the authority. In case the authority finds any difficulty with post box number,they may insist upon personal details,” the bench observed.
“However,in such case,it would be the solemn duty of the authority to hide such information and particularly from their website,so that people at large would not know the details,” the order said.
Disposing of the petition,the bench directed the secretary,Union Ministry of Personnel,to circulate the copy of this order to all concerned so that the authority take appropriate measures to hide information with regard to personal details of activists to avoid any harassment by the persons having vested interest and likely to hide information asked for.
Petitioner Abhishek Goenka,appearing in person,prayed before the court that RTI queries be allowed giving post box numbers to safeguard the applicant’s identity so as to ensure his or her safety and security.
He claimed there have been 23 murders of RTI activists since 2010 in the country and numerous other incidents of attacks on such activists.