Faced with a Central Information Commission (CIC) directive, Delhi police have gone all out to defend their turf.
Admitting a writ petition by Delhi Police, the Delhi High Court has stayed what the police call “an order” by the Information Commissioner in connection with an allegation of refusal by the police to lodge an FIR in a case being heard by the Commission.
Justice S Muralidhar of Delhi High Court on Tuesday admitted the writ petition filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) for Delhi police and listed the case for next hearing on July 14.
Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had last month asked the Delhi Police Commissioner and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Commissioner to inquire into an incident in which RTI users were allegedly beaten up at the behest of a local councillor in the presence of personnel from both the MCD and Delhi Police.
The incident happened during a joint inspection ordered by Gandhi in connection with complaints of unauthorised construction in north Delhi.
DCP (North) Sagarpreet Hooda confirmed, “We have filed a writ against the CIC in the HC.”
Police counsel Vivek Kumar Tandon told Hindustan Times, “The scope of CIC is to be restricted under the RTI Act and he (Gandhi) cannot exercise his powers beyond the same. The matter being investigated is to be dealt with by the competent authority (in this case the MM) and not by the CIC,” he asserted.
The CIC meanwhile is clueless about the entire issue. “We have not received any communication in this regard,” said a CIC official.
In his letter to the Police Commissioner on February 18, Gandhi had pointed out, “Prima facie it appears that there has been serious collusion involved since the matter concerns unchecked encroachment of public land under MCD.”
He had written a similar letter to the MCD Commissioner. The civic body submitted a report on Tuesday but the hearing is still inconclusive.
Gandhi had further said, “You are hereby requested to kindly conduct an inquiry into the matter to ascertain into the allegations raised in the complaint. You are directed to submit a copy of the inquiry report to the Commission to enable the Commission to take proper action.”
A veteran RTI activist said, “In the past too, several Information Commissioners had asked for similar reports from police. Whatever the outcome of this case, it would be a precedent-setting judgement.”