ISTM Logo Here

Gandhiji Image here
Mon, Sep 23, 2019
Hindi Website Button Here
RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Exemption >> Matters Under Investigation
Supreme Court(Matters Under Investigation)/ High Courts(Matters Under Investigation)
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CIC/BSNLD/A/2018/129777/00790
(213.36 KB) pdf icon
03 Jun, 2019 Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharjee Vs. The CPIO & Addl. G.M. BSNL, RTI Cell, Janpath, New Delhi - 110001

Information Sought
The appellant has sought the information regarding the supply for authenticated copy of Screening Committee report forwarded by Circle Office, Guwahati, Assam Circle in connection with Ad-hoc promotion to the grade of DGM, for which APAR and Screening Committee report was called for by Corporate Office, New Delhi vide letter No. 451-15/2016-17/Pers (DPC)/05 dated 14/12/2016 in respect of Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharjee, D.E. Tezpur.

Decision
The appellant submitted that he has received complete information on 28.05.2019 and is satisfied with the same. However, there has been a delay of 1 year and 02 months in providing information to him.

The CPIO submitted that a reply was provided to the appellant on 24.03.2018 wherein it was stated that since the matter had not attained any finality, the information could not be disclosed to him at that stage. After the completion of the matter, the complete information was provided to the appellant on 28.05.2019.

At this point, the appellant submitted that he has not received any other reply from the CPIO apart from a reply dated 28.05.2019.

From a perusal of the relevant case records and considering the submissions put forth by both the parties, it is noted that an interim reply dated 24.03.2018 was provided to the appellant wherein it was stated that as the CPC based on this document is yet to be concluded, the disclosure of the asked document may hamper the ongoing process of CPC, which is confidential in nature. The same can be provided after the completion of promotion process. After this reply, a final reply has been provided to the appellant on 28.05.2019. Hence, the contention of the appellant that there is a delay of 01 year and 02 months in providing a reply was not established by him during the hearing whereas the CPIO was able to provide a copy of the interim reply dated 21.03.2018.

Based on the above observations, the Commission upholds the submission of the CPIO. No further intervention is required in the matter. However, the CPIO is directed to resend the reply dated 24.03.2018 to the appellant within 05 days from the date of receipt of this order as the appellant submitted that he has not received the same.

2 CIC/MANUU/A/2018/611868/00782
(517.66 KB) pdf icon
03 Jun, 2019 Abdul Basit Naik Vs. The CPIO, MANUU, Hyderabad - 500032

Information Sought
The appellant has sought the copy of the report of One Man Commission constituted by the university to investigate the “criminal offences” of students following the protest on the arrival of former Vice Chancellor.

Decision
The appellant submitted that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO as the desired information has not been provided to him.

The CPIO submitted that an appropriate reply has been provided to the appellant on 23.11.2017. He further submitted that an F.I.R has been lodged against the alleged persons and investigation in the matter is still under progress and this report as sought by the appellant is directly linked to the
criminal case and if it is disclosed, the investigation process will be impeded. He also stated that the report contains information about 14 other students also and it is difficult to severe the information pertaining to the appellant from the rest of the information of other students.

From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that the CPIO in his reply dated 23.11.2017 has claimed exemption u/s 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act. During the hearing, while still claiming exemption u/s 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act he stated that the investigation in the whole matter is still under process and hence the information cannot be disclosed at this point of time.

On a query by the Commission as to whether the One Man Commission has submitted its final report or not, the CPIO submitted that the report has been submitted by the Commission but the same has not been finalized at the end of the Vice Chancellor of the University who is the final deciding authority in the matter. He also brought it to the notice of the Commission that the appellant has sought the desired information to submit his Ph.D thesis but as on date he has already been awarded with the Doctorate degree and hence his
grievance has also been redressed.

The issue for determination is whether the One Man Commission has submitted its final report or not. The CPIO has informed that the final report has been submitted by the Commission. The CPIO, however, failed to substantiate how Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act is applicable in that situation i.e once the report has been finalized The Commission finds the following observation of the Hon'ble High Court Delhi in Bhagat Singh v. CIC & Ors. WP(C) 3114/2007 pertinent in this matter.

"13. Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right itself. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation or the prosecution of the offenders. It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) and other such provisions would become a haven for dodging demands for information."

Furthermore, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in B.S. Mathur v. PIO in W.P. (C) 295 of 2011 dated 03.06.2011 had held that :

"19. The question that arises for consideration has already been formulated in the Court's order dated 21st April 2011: Whether the disclosure of the information sought by the Petitioner to the extent not supplied to him yet would "impede the investigation" in terms of Section 8(1)(h) RTI Act" The scheme of the RTI Act, its objects and reasons indicate that disclosure of information is the rule and non-disclosure the exception. A public authority which seeks to withhold information available with it has to show that the information sought is of the nature specified in Section 8 RTI Act. As regards Section 8(1)(h) RTI Act, which is the only provision invoked by the Respondent to deny the Petitioner the information sought by him, it will have to be shown by the public authority that the information sought "would impede the process of investigation." The mere reproducing of the wording of the statute would not be sufficient when recourse is had to Section 8(1)(h)RTI Act. The burden is on the public authority to show in what manner the disclosure of such information would 'impede' the investigation...............

22. ...........The mere pendency of an investigation or inquiry is by itself not a sufficient justification for withholding information. It must be shown that the disclosure of the information sought would "impede" or even on a lesser threshold "hamper" or "interfere with" the investigation. This burden the Respondent has failed to discharge."

Furthermore, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in Adesh Kumar v. UOI and Ors. W.P. (C) 3542/ 2014 dated 16.12.2014 had held as under:

"10. A bare perusal of the order passed by the FAA also indicates that the aspect as to how the disclosure of information would impede prosecution has not been considered. Merely, citing that the information is exempted under Section 8(1)(h) of the Act would not absolve the public authority from discharging its onus as required to claim such exemption. Thus, neither the FAA nor the CIC has questioned the Public Authority as to how the disclosure of information would impede the prosecution."

The Commission observed that in the reply of the CPIO dated 23.11.2017, information was denied by the CPIO under section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act, 2005 taking the plea that the report was not submitted by the Commission at the time when the first reply was provided to the appellant. Now during the hearing, it has been informed that the report of the One Man Commission has been finalized and submitted to the Vice Chancellor. The respondent could not satisfactorily demonstrate as to how the disclosure of information i.e. the report would "impede" the process of investigation at the present time.

In view of the foregoing, the CPIO is directed to provide the sought for information to the appellant after due application of Section 10 of the RTI Act i.e. providing that part of the information to the appellant that pertains to him only while severing the information related to the other 14 students. The CPIO is directed to comply with the order of the Commission within a period of 20
days from the date of receipt of is order under intimation to the Commission.

3 CIC/CVCOM/C/2017/160746/SD
(117.85 KB) pdf icon
06 May, 2019 Roopadevi M Vs. CPIO, Central Vigilance Commission, G.P.O Complex, Block A, INA, New Delhi-110023.

Information Sought
The complainant sought action taken report for her Complaint No.26757/2015.

Decision
Commission observes from the grounds of Complaint that the Complainant is insisting on action to be taken against the CPIO for denying the information related to the investigation under Section 8(1)(h) of RTI Act even as FAA ordered provision of information.

Commission notes that the Complainant has not sought for any information or documents related to the investigation but only the action taken/progress made on her Complaint in the RTI Application under reference. CPIO although initially erred in denying this information under Section 8(1)(h) of RTI Act, the same was provided upon FAA’s order vide letter dated 17.08.2017. As for allegation of non-compliance of FAA’s order, Commission does not find the same tenable as FAA merely ordered the CPIO to provide the information regarding action taken on the Complaint, which was provided by the CPIO eventually. However, Commission takes grave exception to the mindless application of Section 8(1)(h) of RTI Act by the CPIO even as Complainant only sought to know the action taken on the Complaint, it was incumbent on the CPIO to have only intimated the action taken which is that the Complaint was sent to CVO, CBEC vide letter dated 27.10.2016 and advice has been tendered based on the CVO report on 12.05.2017.

CPIO is hereby warned to remain careful in future and not resort to mechanical application of exemption clauses of RTI Act.

4 CIC/OCEPI/A/2017/605011
(595.47 KB) pdf icon
01 May, 2019 Dinesh Singh Vs. CPIO, O/o The Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Navi Mumbai.

Information Sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), O/o The Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai, seeking information on eight points pertaining to “Diana Talkies Trust” property, including, inter-alia, (i) whether the Floor Space Index (FSI) of the property was ascertained by Inspector, Ms. Patricia Fialho and Asst. Custodian of Enemy Property, Shri D. Srinivas, separately, as per the directions of CEP, Shri Dinesh Singh on 23.03.2007 after obtaining legal advice from the Ministry of Law and Justice dated 22.03.2007 and it was reported to be 1.33 as per the Order Sheet noting dated 23.03.2007 and 13.04.2007, and (ii) if so, a copy/extract of the Order Sheet of the directions issued by Shri Dinesh Singh and the reports received from Ms. Patricia Fialho and Shri D. Srinivas.

Decision
The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, agrees with the submissions of the respondent that since the O/o CEPI is contesting the closure report filed by the Investigating Authority before the competent court, the disclosure of the documents sought by the appellant, at this, stage, would adversely affect the legal case of the respondent in the Court. In this
context, the Commission notes that in the matter of Shri C. Seetharamaiah vs. Commissionerate of Customs & Central Excise, [File No. CIC/AT/A/2008/01238 dated 07.06.2010] a full bench of this Commission has held as under:

“37. ……..and what was more any disclosure of this information to the appellant at this stage would undoubtedly cause injury the CBI’s presentation of the case on behalf of the prosecution before the Trial Court. Forcing CBI to provide to the appellant evidence, records and documents it otherwise would not provide to him or provide to him only through the directive of the Trial Court, would have the effect of interfering with the CBI’s right to
marshall evidence and to present it in the manner or in the sequence, which in its judgment, would be necessary to prove the guilt of the accused. This is CBI’s right as the complainant before the Trial Court, which would be seriously compromised if the accused were allowed to force it to give out information and documents through the RTI Act.”

5 CIC/DGVCE/A/2017/181299-BJ
(181.35 KB) pdf icon
06 Aug, 2018 KS Jain Vs DG Vigilance, Customs and Central Excise

ISSUE : The applicant sought information pertaining to the report on the basis of which his complaint against a third party was closed. His request was rejected under section 8(1)(J) by the public authority. And also on the ground that larger public interest in disclosure could not be brought out by the applicant.
DECISION : The Commission rejected the appeal stating that the appellant could not establish larger public interest in disclosure nor the information could be disclosed as it related to a third party and was covered under section 8(1)(h) of the Act.
6 CIC/DGITV/A/2016/290774/BJ
(100.28 KB) pdf icon
25 Jul, 2017 Mr. Yogendra Mittal Vs. CPIO, O/o the Dte. Gen. of Income Tax (Vig.), New Delhi

The Appellant sought information on 18 points (a to s) pertaining to inclusion of his name in the ‘Agreed List’ prepared by the CBDT, copies of all circulars/ instructions/ OMs followed by CBDT while preparing ‘Agreed List’ of its officers, exact date on which his name was included in the ‘Agreed List’ in the year 2013 and issues related thereto.

CIC agreed with the order of CPIO.
7 CIC/DEPOL/A/2016/306137
(69.43 KB) pdf icon
20 Jul, 2017 Shri Jagdish Prasad Meena Vs. CPIO Delhi Police, O/o ADCP-cum-PIO, South West District, Sector-19, Dwarka, New Delhi

The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), O/o the DCP, South West District, Delhi Police seeking information on six points pertaining to Case No. 881/15, P.S. Najafgarh, including, inter-alia, (i) the number of witnesses that have been examined in Case No. 881/15 so far and (ii) whether the statements of the witnesses who were examined in this case have been recorded in writing or not.

The Commission, observed that since the investigation in the matter has now been completed, copies of statements recorded can be provided to the appellant. The Commission, therefore, directs the CPIO, Outer District, Delhi Police to provide certified copies of the statements of the witnesses, recorded in connection with case no. 881/2015, to the appellant within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. Shri Lokesh Kumar, Sub-Inspector, South West District Delhi Police shall ensure that a copy of this order is served upon the CPIO, Outer District, Delhi Police for compliance.
8 CIC/KY/A/2016/001027
(48.19 KB) pdf icon
24 Mar, 2017 Amit Ranjan, New Delhi Vs. Central Public Information Officer Dir.(EP) M/o External Employment & P.G.E.,New Delhi

The respondent stated that the appellant has been replied to vide letter dated 02.05.2016 that that the case is under investigation. The information cannot be provided to him as it would impede the process of investigation and was denied under section 8(1) (h) of the RTI Act. The respondent stated that the case is now in its final stage and chargesheet is being filed. CIC upheld the decision of CPIO.
9 CIC/MCOAL/A/2016/302091
(170.96 KB) pdf icon
26 Dec, 2016 C K Singhania vs Ministry of Coal, New Delhi

Section 8(1)(h) Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation.

The Commission held that a mere apprehension in the mind of CPIO that disclosure of information would impede investigation or prosecution cannot substitute a subjective opinion formed on the basis of cogent material. The information sought is simple and basic and there is no embargo to put the same in public domain. Accordingly, the impugned order is set aside and the CPIO is directed to furnish complete information on the three distinct RTI applications under reference.
10 CIC/MP/A/2016/001413
(35.78 KB) pdf icon
12 Dec, 2016 Pawan Kumar Singhal vs Punjab National Bank, Kurukshetra

Section 8(I)(h) — Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation — the Commission held that the first stage advice of the CVO is disclosable information as per the instructions of the Central Vigilance Commission. The Commission, therefore, directed the CPIO to provide first stage advice of the CVO to the appellant within fifteen days of the receipt of the order of the Commission. As the investigation report conducted by the erstwhile NBI was not available with the respondents, hence could not be provided to the appellant.

The Commission also recommended to the respondent authority to expeditiously finalize disciplinary proceedings against the appellant.
11 CIC/VS/C/2015/900128
(156.34 KB) pdf icon
09 Dec, 2016 Ashwin Shukla vs West Central Railway, Jabalpur

Section 8(1)(h) Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation.

The Commission directed the respondents to provide information with regard to vigilance investigation conducted against the complainant and has been completed using severance clause under section 10 of the RTI Act and if so required, severe those parts which might compromise the sources of information and third party information.
12 CIC/YA/C/2016/000034
(213.53 KB) pdf icon
15 Nov, 2016 Sanjeev Kapoor vs NTPC Limited, Delhi

Section 6(1) Request for Information

Can a citizen insist on seeking information under the Right to Information Act even if the same can be accessed through some other alternate channel or mode? The Commission in various pronouncements had held that the right to seek information under the RTI Act does not get eclipsed due to availability of an alternate channel to seek defence documents. The issue of availability of alternate channels to access information has been dealt by Hon'ble Kerala High Court in Kerala Public Service Commission & Ors. vs State Information Commission Kerala & Anr.

(B) Section 8(1)(h) — Information disclosure of which would the process of investigation — What is the extent of applicability of section 8(1)(h) in the cases of ongoing disciplinary proceedings? — the Commission held that the legislature in its wisdom has deliberately chosen the word 'which would', reflecting that the only eventuality flowing from such disclosure would necessarily result in impeding the process of investigation, apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Thus, the public authority must exhibit cogent material to support that disclosure would necessarily impede the process of investigation/apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Had the legislature intended to cast a blanket cover in all such cases, it would have used the expression 'which could impede'. Upon a plain reading of the statute, the Commission is left with no doubt that the onus to exhibit imminent & real threat of impeding process of investigation/apprehension or prosecution of offenders is cast upon the respondents.
13 CIC/CC/A/2015/004390/BS/11011
(54.82 KB) pdf icon
08 Aug, 2016 Vimal Prakash Vs. Department of Income Tax, Baroda

Section 8(l)(h) — Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation — the appellant filed RTI application and sought the certified copies of all pages of his service book — the Commission held that it must be shown that the disclosure of the information sought would "impede" or even on a lesser threshold "hamper" or "interfere with" the investigation. This burden the Respondent has failed to discharge." The CPIO is, therefore, directed to provide copy of applicant's service book to him.
14 CIC/CC/A/2014/000526/SD CIC/CC/A/2014/000521/SD
(148.67 KB) pdf icon
25 Jul, 2016 Dhiren Shah vs Indian Army

Section 8(1)(h) Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation.

The Commission held that inspection had already been allowed to the appellant earlier therefore there is no reason to deny inspection at this stage. CPIO has not provided any ground on the basis of which section 8(1)(h) is attracted. Mere statement that the matter is sub-judice is no ground for seeking exemption under section 8(1) (h). The Commission directed the respondent to provide full inspection to the appellant of relevant records/ files.
15 CIC/MP/A/2016/000056 CIC/MP/A/2016/000532
(117.89 KB) pdf icon
30 Jun, 2016 N.K Aggarwal vs The New India Assurance Company Limited, Mumbai

Section 8(I)(h). Information disclosure of which would impede the process of investigation

The Commission held that the information sought by the appellant in his instant RTI application pertains to his own claim and not of any third party, He has right to know the reasons, as available in the records of the insurance company, for repudiation of his claim as he is the one who has been 'adversely affected' by the decision of the insurance company. Therefore, the plea taken by the public authority that disclosure of information sought by the appellant would harm the competitive position of the public authority as third party does not hold good and cannot be sustained. Similarly, the claim of fiduciary relationship, which has been made by the respondents at this stage only, is not persuasive in view of the reasons stated above.

The Commission directed the CPIO to provide the information to the appellant as sought in his RTI application on payment of the requisite fee.
Total Case uploaded: 58