Secy panel exempts taxmen from RTI but keeps Army waiting

Only two intelligence units have been given immunity from public disclosure under the Right to Information Act. Seven others - including the Defence Ministry, the armed forces and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) - have failed to make the grade for the second time.

On November 23, the Committee of Secretaries included in the Second Schedule the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation "given the nature of their surveillance activity" and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) as it had "access to information of a sensitive nature from a large number of intelligence agencies".

But it declined blanket exemption from RTI to the armed forces or the Defence Ministry "for the present" asking the latter to submit specific proposals in respect of intelligence organisations, if necessary, that should be in the schedule that lists RTI-exempted outfits.

Even the National Security Council has not been given the reprieve from inclusion in the Schedule.

Last year, the Administrative Reforms Commission had favoured including the armed forces in the list claiming that almost all of its activities were covered in Section 8 where an office is under no obligation to give information if it dented security, sovereignty and integrity of India or the country's strategic interest.

Rejecting requests from the Railway Protection Force and Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, the CoS decided to exclude the crime branch or the special branch of police.

Secy panel exempts taxmen from RTI but keeps Army waiting - Yahoo! India News