Delhi HC rejects Mumbai train blast convict’s plea seeking info on probe officers | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC rejects Mumbai train blast convict’s plea seeking info on probe officers

Mar 05, 2024 07:23 PM IST

Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui had sought information regarding the officers who had supervised the probe and had granted sanction to prosecute him

The Delhi high court has rejected a plea filed by 7/11 Mumbai serial train blast case death row convict Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui seeking information regarding the officers who had supervised the probe and had granted sanction to prosecute him, saying the data, if given, would expose the officials to grave danger.

The Delhi high court said the data, if given, would expose the officials to grave danger. (File)
The Delhi high court said the data, if given, would expose the officials to grave danger. (File)

The court was of the view that Siddiqui had not brought out any case regarding the public interest that would be served by provision of such information that could outweigh the interest protected under section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

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The said provision exempts disclosure of personal information under the RTI Act that does not have relationship to any public activity or interest, or which can cause unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.

“The information is of such a nature, if given to the Petitioner, may expose these officers to grave danger. The Petitioner has not brought out any case as to what public interest would be served by giving such information as sought for by the Petitioner which would outweigh the protected interest under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. Rather in the facts of this case, the protected interest is in the nature of danger to the life and property of the officers who were involved in the investigation relating to the Petitioner and that disclosing their information to the Petitioner would certainly outweigh the public interest that has been claimed,” a bench of justice Subramonium Prasad said in February 28 order.

Justice Prasad in the order uploaded on Monday also refused to provide Siddiqui with a copy of an alleged Intelligence Bureau (IB) report suggesting false implication and arrest of the accused which was placed before the Union ministry of home affairs in 2009 to review the evidence in the bomb blast case.

The court was of the view that the death row convict had sought the IB reports relying on an article published in the newspaper and thus remarked that such articles could not be taken as gospel truth and there was no reason to disbelieve the agency’s affidavit stating that it had not submitted any report to the ministry.

“The premise on which the Petitioner is relying, the publishing of such newspaper article, cannot be taken as gospel truth. Affidavits have been filed by responsible officers in the court stating that no such report exists. This court has no reason to disbelieve the affidavit of the Respondent,” the court noted.

Justice Prasad also opined that a report or an article published in a newspaper is considered only hearsay evidence and is not a document to prove allegation of a fact.

“It has been well established, through various judgments of the apex court, that a report or an article published in a newspaper is considered only hearsay evidence and such a newspaper report, or article, is not a document through which an allegation of fact can be proven,” the judge noted.

Siddiqui had approached the high court against the Central Information Commission (CIC)’s 2019 order rejecting his RTI application seeking copies of UPSC forms and other documents related to the 12 IPS officers who had supervised the investigation and 4 IAS officers who had accorded sanction to the prosecution to arrest and convict him.

CIC, while rejecting to supply him information, in the said order had held that the information would encroach upon the right to privacy of the officers adding that such right, which is a continuous process, would even continue after 20 years.

He had also challenged CIC’s order rejecting to provide him with the copy of the alleged IB report. The CIC had disposed of the appeal after taking on record CPIO, IB’s 2019 affidavit that no information could be provided as it had not submitted any report to the MHA in 2009.

Siddiquie, was sentenced to death by a special court under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) in October 2015 for his involvement in the 7/11 Mumbai trains blasts which killed over 200 people and injured 800 others. He is presently lodged in the Nagpur Central Prison.

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