The home department of the Maharashtra government has decided to accord special status to the file of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged on July 30, to exempt it from the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The state government has already received several RTI applications seeking various details of Memon’s execution , including the money spent on it. The home department, however, has decided not share any information about Memon’s hanging by invoking Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act, which specifies potential exemptions, such as information that could pose a threat to national security.
A state government official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Section 8(1) of the RTI Act empowers agencies to refuse certain information in the larger interest of society. It clearly states that information which affects the sovereignty and integrity of the country, its security and economic interests, or leads to incitement of an offence, can be refused. Information on Memon’s execution will be refused under this provision.”
He added that the government has previously rejected applications seeking information on the 2012 execution of Ajmal Kasab, the lone convict in the 26/11 terror attack. “Professors from the National Law University, Delhi, had pursued the matter [refusal of information] until the central commission upheld our decision,” the officer said.
“We will soon seek special status for Memon’s file with permission from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (who is also the home minister). A similar process was followed for Kasab’s file,” he added.
Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner, said, “The RTI Act has provisions to refuse sensitive information. I am against the refusal of any information, but in such a case the provision should be invoked as disclosing the information could incite an offence and endanger people’s lives.”
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