5 months after RTI, women's commission says plea 'not in public interest'
AS Reported by Arpit Parashar June 10, 2008 in Express India

New Delhi, June 9 The National Commission For Women (NCW) has refused
to answer questions filed under the Right to Information Act on the
tour details of its members.

The application wanted to know if tours were undertaken by members —
to "check out" several complaints that had alerted the Commission
about children going missing in Nithari. These complaints had been
filed a year before the mass murders were actually discovered in
December, 2006.

The RTI was filed by Commodore (Retired) Lokesh Batra, who has worked
closely on the Nithari murders. The Commission's answer was: the
information sought was "cumbersome" and did not "appear to serve any
public purpose". The reply came close to five months after the
application was filed — that too, after the Central Information
Commission intervened in the matter three months ago.

Batra justified his interest: "Several replies by the Commission —
while answering earlier RTI applications — seemed disinterested in
exploring the cases of children going missing in Nithari. I want to
know the details of tours undertaken in the one year leading to the
discovery of the Nithari murders. Several complaints had been sent to
the Commission on missing children in this period."

The NCW, as reported by Newsline in December, 2007, had not answered
letters sent to it by activists Usha Thakur and Lokesh Batra in 2005,
when six children had gone missing from the Noida village. Batra said,
"If they had acted on these letters, many innocent lives would have
been saved."

On the other hand, NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas said, "I am not aware
what the administration has said in the reply. We advise members to
work hard on details and any information can be sought by meeting us

While Batra was gunning to know about tour details, he had also asked
about the designations of Commission members, and the tenures. Instead
of answering directly, the Commission in its reply, pointed at other
sources that might give him this information. The answer lists a
website and a cyber address that would satisfy his queries.

This is a clear violation of the Act, Batra said, adding, "the
Commission has also not mentioned any reason why it has denied me the

Similar rebuffs have been noticed in the past, when several government
institutions had been reluctant to part with "personal information". A
judgment on a case in 2005, after the Central Forensic Science
Laboratory (CFSL) withheld information, had ruled against the
laboratory. The Central Information Commissioner had allowed the
appeal and directed the CFSL to provide information on leave details
sought. However, the CIC's order in this case has been ignored by the

5 months after RTI, women’s commission says plea ‘not in public interest’ - ExpressIndia.Com