I think this is the FIRST High Court Decision in favour of any RTI applicant.
Hopefully, the various other RTI matters pending before the courts, are also decided in favour of RTI applicants.
RTI information can't be denied on ground of pending probe: HC
December 04, 2007 21:03 IST
The Delhi high court has held that a person cannot be denied information under the Right to Information Act merely on the ground that an investigation is pending in a case and that the public authorities have to explain to the applicant how sharing the information would hamper the probe.
"The mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of information and the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process," Justice S Ravinder Bhat said.
"Such reasons should be relevant, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on material," the court said while emphasising that the Act which was akin to welfare measures should be liberally interpreted.
The court passed the order on a petition of Bhagat Singh who was denied information on the earnings of his wife, with whom he has a discord, by the Income-Tax department on the ground that the matter was being investigated.
Singh, who was accused by his wife Saroj Nimal of taking a dowry of Rs 10 lakh from her, had filed a complaint in the I-T department against his wife for tax evasion in order to get details of her wife's earning.
Singh filed a request with the I-T department for investigation of his wife's sources of income in view of the fact that she was a primary teacher and she had alleged paying him Rs 10 lakh as dowry, something which seemed unlikely with her limited source of income.
After some time, he sought information from the department under the RTI Act about the details of preliminary inquiry which was refused by officials on the ground of pending information.
Directing the department to provide all the details on the preliminary inquiry, the court said, "The order of Community Information Centre (sic) and the department do not reflect any reasons why the investigation process would be hampered."
Pending probe not ground for denial of RTI request
For the benefit of readers I am also attaching the relevant decision of the CIC, against which, this applicant went to Court.
Applicants who were denied information on the basis of Section 8(1)(h) & 8(1)(j) can take heart and probably retry !
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