Copy of non-relied upon documents in a departmental enquiry
The Appellant sought copies of relied upon documents pertaining to the departmental enquiry and CBI case pending against him. The PIO relied on order of Delhi High Court in W P (C) no. 16712/2006 in the matter of Surinder Pal Singh Vs Union of India and Ors in denying disclosure of the requested information under Section 8 (1)(h) of the RTI Act. On first appeal, the FAA upheld the decision of PIO.
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The Respondent stated that the Departmental enquiry was pending and the CBI case was being heard and therefore the disclosure of information at this stage would hurt the interests of the prosecuting agencies. The appellant stated that, after issuing the Charge sheet, without relied upon documents he is not able to defend himself effectively. The Commission directed PIO that all those documents that are required to be provided to the appellant as per the existing CCS/CCA Rules and Vigilance Manual should be provided to the appellant and that he did not require taking recourse to his rights under the RTI Act to obtain these documents. The Commission also directed the PIO to provide to the appellant copies of all those documents not relied upon by the CBI in this case.
In the order of Bhagat Singh Vs Chief Information Commissioner and Ors, the High Court of Delhi observed that, "the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be grounds for refusal of the Information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; and any other such provisions would become the haven for dodging demands for information."
Citation: Shri Durga Prasad Kar v. Income Tax Department in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/000830