‘CBI as security, intelligence body enjoys RTI exemption’
Defending exemption of the CBI from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI), the Centre on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that the agency qualified as a security and intelligence organisation which enjoyed exemption under the Act. Harish V Nair reports.delhi Updated: Aug 09, 2011 22:55 IST
Defending exemption of the CBI from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI), the Centre on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that the agency qualified as a security and intelligence organisation which enjoyed exemption under the Act.
“The CBI qualified as a security and intelligence organization like the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) under section 24 of the RTI to enjoy exemption and a legal opinion has been received in this regard,” the Centre said
In affidavits filed in the court set to hear a PIL challenging the exemption on Wednesday, the home ministry, law ministry, department of personnel and the CBI said the exemption was “not blanket” but only in cases involving national security.
“Cases handled by the CBI are very sensitive where inputs are based on intelligence collected which may relate to the security of the state. Disclosures under RTI may lead to targeting of officers which may ultimately affect the credibility of CBI. Difficulties were being faced by CBI in its working due to queries raised under the RTI act,” the affidavit said.
“The exemptions are primarily given to ensure that interests of the security of the state are not overlooked while protecting the right of citizens to seek information,” said the affidavit. In separate PILs, lawyers Sitab Chaudhary and Ajay Agrawal termed the exemption “illegal” contending that section 24 only gave exemption to organizations dealing with defence, security and national intelligence.
“Exemption of the CBI is against and in gross violation of principle of transparency and accountability and curb on corruption in functioning of public offices, organisations and institutions,” the PIL contended.