Are schedule II organizations liable to disclose information under the RTI Act?
Ordinarily, the provisions of the RTI Act would not apply to the public authority like National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) which is placed in schedule II unless it involves corruption or human rights violation. Nothing was brought on record to show that the desired information relates to any act of corruption or human rights violation, the only two conditions in which the public authority should be obliged to disclose any information. For unknown reasons whether inadvertent or deliberate, both the PIO and the Appellate Authority at the relevant time had chosen to disclose some information regarding the procurement of certain equipment by NTRO. The Commission had given certain directions to the PIO in its order dated 31 March 2011 to disclose more information only because the then PIO/ Appellate Authority had themselves decided to disclose some information. The Commission was appraised with the developments and expressed satisfaction with the compliance of its directions.
View of CIC
The Commission held that whether any particular piece of information held by a security organization is to be disclosed has to be decided by the organization itself since it is the best judge of what is in the national security interest. The Commission did not impose any penalty on the PIO concerned under the RTI Act and closed the matter.
This case opens up the possibility of disclosure of innocuous information by the PIO of the organisations which are placed in Schedule II of the RTI Act.
Citation: Shri V K Mittal v. National Technical Research Organisation in file no. CIC/WB/A/2010/000093 & 239SM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/88
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission