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Thread: Right to Information & Anti-corruption agencies

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    Right to Information & Anti-corruption agencies


    A column by S N Patra in centralchronicle.com on 03 June 2008:
    Central Chronicle--Column

    Right to Information & Anti-corruption agencies


    It is undisputed that `investigation' is a matter `sub judice'. A copy of the FIR is submitted to the Magistrate before whom that police station submits chargesheets or FR (Final Report) u/s 173 CrPC. The author is not aware of any move having been made so far towards `contempt of court' proceedings for having `commented upon' matters publicly under investigation by the police/Anti-corruption agencies conducting `investigation' in pursuance of the Criminal Procedure Code. Quasi-judicial bodies certainly do not enjoy the same privileges.

    In the matter of preliminary enquiries (Prarambhik Janch) conducted by the Anti-corruption agencies in P Sirajuddin vs State of Madras (1970)3 SCR 931, the learned Supreme Court made it obligatory adopting a PE (preliminary enquiry) prior to registering a regular case so that the image and the reputation of the public servant and of his department are not tarnished by malicious complaints. For a public servant may in the course of his legitimate duties annoy some who fail to derive the rewards of nefarious actions, perhaps, set the law into motion by malicious complaints.


    On the basis of a PE, the `investigator' arrives to a conclusion as to whether a prima facie case is made out and then draws up the FIR (First Information Report) u/s 154 CrPC. This procedure of a PE is a basic requirement for the Anti-corruption agencies only but not for the Station House OFficer of a police station (Refer HN Rishbed's landmark judgement).


    One characteristic peculiar to the police department is that u/s 36 CrPC all officers superior to SHO and the SHO himself have same and equal powers of investigation. The superior police officers up to the rank of the IGP-cum-DGP have powers equal to SHO, nothing more nothing less.


    Such an arrangement does not exist in any governmental or private organization. So far as investigation of crime is concerned, the superior police officers have no `appellate' or `revisionary' powers. The SHO (SO), Thanedar, TI, `OC Babu', or Kotwal is the pivot around whom investigation of cognizable offence revolves. An FIR drawn up cannot be changed or amended and it is final in nature. It can only be expunged by competent court of law.


    The SHO has either to register an FIR or refuse to do so in petty matters (s 157(b). If a complainant considers that a report presented by him tantamounts to a cognizable offence which the SHO of a PS refuses to register (FIR) he can u/s 154 sub-section (2) of CrPC, 1973 send it to the (District) Superintendent of Police by Registered Post (In 1973 facilities of either speed post, fax or e-mail did not exist) But, in a recent case of Bhopal district, according to stories in the media, the TI (SHO) approached the Govt of MP in the Law Dept to seek advice on registering a case (FIR). The Law Dept is not an advisory body for the police especially in matters of investigation. The institution of the Advocate General and the Law Department are approached by the State Govt for such advice or guidance.


    If under the RTI Act (Right to Information Act), demands analogous to `production of documents' u/c 94 CrPC could be made is doubtful. Further, if the Anti-corruption agencies are required to furnish `information' relating to preliminary inquiries or regular cases then it is hit by 1) P Sirajuddin vs State of Madras ruling by the learned Supreme Court and 2) so-called delinquents under the Anti-corruption laws would have a hay day. They have already the trump card of pressurizing the employer in making him refuse `sanction for prosecution' under the Prevention of Corruption Act without which no cognizance is possible.


    The RTI Act is a Central Act which has no provisions enabling the state government to make bye-laws. The MP LOkayukta Act can be amended or repealed by the State Govt through the Legislature.


    The two golden principles of `Rule of Law' and `Natural principles of justice' are the sine quo non for an `administration'. The State government and the Advocate General may size up the issue, being highlighted in the media so that they approach the Union govt, the parliament, the legislature or even the learned high court/supreme court for testing the provisions of a codified Central Act. Any person may also go in for a PIL. A public servant is bound down by the departmental formalities of the `Employer'-`Employee' relationship.


    Only time will show how sound the RTI Act is? It is in a nascent stage. Recently, a bench of the learned Supreme Court took a dig at the Union govt's `health for all' policy in a case pertaining to refusal of medical insurance to senior citizens by the state owned insurance companies. Therefore, will someone knock at the doors of the learned Supreme Court or do we see the state govt to act?






  2. Re: Right to Information & Anti-corruption agencies


    What does it relate to???
    I think a time has come when all govt employees need to be arressted as almost all including members from the judiciary get regular complaint against themselves and they have to reply to so many malicious complaints that ultimately they find themselves at the receiving end..
    So the service condition should me made such that during probation period itself the candidate should spend 2 months into jail so that he can handle the pain of going to jail without any pain...
    already 6th pay commission has made it very clear that either they be corrupt or they starve like a begger...
    ny comment

  3. #3
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    C J Karira
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    Re: Right to Information & Anti-corruption agencies


    Just read it once more and you will understand.
    It is not as difficult as Vertical Redundancy Check, Voltage Standing Wave Ratio, Tandem Tie Trunk Network, etc....



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