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RTI activist death: CIC to uncover mystery

Invoking an earlier resolution passed to ensure the interest of RTI users, the Central Information Commission (CIC) will intervene in the alleged murder of RTI activist Ravinder Balwani.

india Updated: May 13, 2012 01:17 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times

Invoking an earlier resolution passed to ensure the interest of RTI users, the Central Information Commission (CIC) will intervene in the alleged murder of RTI activist Ravinder Balwani.

“The CIC will direct the public authorities concerned to declare suo moto on the website all the information that Balwani had asked for as per the resolution,” said Shailesh Gandhi, information commissioner.

The CIC had passed a resolution in September 2011 in wake of the increasing attacks on RTI activists. The resolution, the CIC had hoped, would prove to be a deterrent to those seeking to silence activists.

The commission had resolved that ‘if it receives a complaint regarding assault or murder of an information seeker, it will examine the pending RTI applications of the victim and order the department(s) concerned to publish the requested information suo moto on their website as per the provisions of the law’.

Balwani, a resident of Vasant Kunj, died on April 25 after being injured in a hit-and-run accident two days earlier.

His family, however, suspected foul play and alleged that he had been murdered, as he had been receiving threats.

Balwani used RTI Act and dug out information from various departments. He then filed complaints with the Delhi Lokayukt.

Balwani’s son and daughter met Gandhi and apprised him of the situation. “They met me on Friday evening and said they would file a complaint with the CIC in connection with their father’s death,” Gandhi said.

“He will then forward it to the chief commissioner, who will issue a direction to the public authority concerned,” he added.

The thought behind this is that if the results of attacks on RTI users leads to ensuring that such information is put in public domain, the purpose (of attacking the activist) will be defeated, the information commissioner explained.

First Published: May 13, 2012 01:09 IST