Appellant and his wife were made accused by CBI in some case - case pending trial before a court - CBI included in the second schedule - CIC: Institution of a criminal case cannot be said to amount to the violation of human rights
1. We heard all these three cases together. Both the parties made their submissions.
2. Referring to a particular case instituted by the CBI against both him and his wife and to a representation sent by him to the CBI for not implicating his wife in the case as she was an independent businesswoman, the Appellant had sought some information, largely to find out about the manner in which that representation was disposed of. In all the three cases, the CPIO had refused to disclose any such information on the ground of not only that the matter was subjudice before the trial court and the disclosure of such information would impede the process of prosecution but also that the CBI had been included in the second schedule to the Right to Information (RTI) Act and was, therefore, no longer obliged to disclose such information under RTI. Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the Appellant had preferred an appeal. The Appellate Authority had, in a speaking order, endorsed the stand taken by the CPIO and had also observed that the CBI had already placed in the public domain sufficient information on how it dealt with grievances received from the members of the public.
3. During the hearing, the Appellant submitted that by implicating his wife in a criminal case instituted against him, the CBI had violated her human rights and, therefore, he was seeking this information for vindicating the human rights of his wife. In response, the respondent, however, reiterated the stand taken by the CPIO and submitted that since the disposal of any representation from an accused would involve its examination at various levels in the CBI, the disclosure of the details sought by the Appellant would reveal facts about the case which would adversely affect the pending prosecution in the trial court. He was strongly against the disclosure of any such information.
4. We have carefully considered the facts of the case. It is an admitted fact that the CBI has made both the Appellant and his wife accused in some case. The case is pending trial before a competent court. The Appellant has represented to the CBI on behalf of his wife. In the meanwhile, the CBI has been placed in the second schedule to the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Its obligation to disclose any information under RTI is now limited only to cases of allegations of corruption or human rights violation. In the present case, the Appellant is claiming that the information regarding the disposal of his representation has a human right angle, at least, the human rights of his wife. This argument is not convincing at all. Institution of a criminal case against the wife of the appellant cannot be said to amount to the violation of her human rights. In the present case, at least, the Appellant had not made any such reference that he was seeking the information as it related to the violation of human rights of his Wife. Therefore, the CPIO could not have looked at this angle while dealing with the RTI applications. Considered from all these aspects, there does not seem to be much merit in the contention of the Appellant that the details about the disposal of his representation should be disclosed as an information concerning violation of human rights.
5. We uphold the order of the Appellate Authority and reject all the three appeals.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. PM Singhdeo v. Central Bureau of Investigation in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000220, 221 & 222 (Three Similar Cases)