The Central Information Commission has directed the government to make public the report of the CVC on the working of the Prasar Bharti which reportedly indicted its former CEO B S Lalli.
The report which gave details of alleged irregularities in awarding telecast rights, financial mismanagement among others was withheld by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting saying the disclosure would impede the process of investigation.
The case relates to an RTI applicant Aseem Takyar who had sought to know from the Ministry the reports of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) against the then Prasar Bharti Lalli.
The Ministry said, "information sought vide your application relates to the matter which is under investigation and furnishing of information would impede the process of investigation and hence the information was denied under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act".
The section allows withholding of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders by a government department.
Rejecting the arguments of the Ministry, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, "The Respondent (Ministry) has not given any justification or reasoning how disclosing the information would impede the process of investigation."
"Denial of a citizen's fundamental right must be justified and the mere act of continuing an investigation cannot be used to deny citizens' rights. In view of this, the Commission does not accept the denial of information under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act," Gandhi said ordering the Ministry to disclose the information before February 28.