Can investigation report of CBI regarding a vigilance matter be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), seeking copies of a number of documents relating to a particular case including the copy of the report of the SP Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the reports sent by the Director General, Vigilance of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and the comments of the Anticorruption Branch of the CBI. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the existence of some of these documents and he also denied disclosing the available information on the ground that the disclosure of such records would impede the process of prosecution.
During the hearing before the Central Information commission (CIC), the appellant argued that he had been informed by the office of the Commissioner of Customs that the copy of the report of the SP CBI had been disclosed by the Ministry itself to some other individuals accused in the very same case. The appellant also stated that there was no reason why this should not be disclosed to him pointing out that the remaining documents had been furnished by the respective government authorities had been provided to the parties concerned. The appellant also submitted that all the documents that he had sought were now available to other parties. The respondent submitted that they had consulted both the CBI and the CBEC in the matter since the desired documents originated from those organizations and both these had objected to the disclosure of this information, on the ground that the prosecution was still on. The respondent also argued that the report of the SP CBI contained not only the details of the evidence collected in the particular case but also the detailed analyses and evaluation of that evidence including the strategy to be adopted by the CBI for prosecuting the case. Respondent further submitted that the disclosure of this document would reveal the strategy of the CBI and would impede the prosecution of the offenders.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the copies of these documents should not be denied to the appellant as they have already been disclosed to some other parties in this case. The Commission however, agreed with the respondent that the disclosure of the report of the SP CBI might have an adverse effect on the prosecution of offenders but the same could not be said about the other documents. The CIC directed the PIO to provide to the appellant the copies of the remaining documents.
Citation: Mr. S K Katiyar v. Central Vigilance Commission in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002596
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/705
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission