CIC: Accused can seek the copy of MLC only when it does not impede the process of investigation - trial means that the investigation is over - Details of doctors who prepared MLC & the police officers who asked for the MLC not to be disclosed
2. The appellant submitted that through his RTI application dated 1652013, he is seeking the details of one MLC No.5876/07 regarding the doctors who have prepared them, the reports on which they relied upon including the police officers who asked for the MLC, etc. The PIO has given reply by his letter dated 162013. The appellant made first appeal before the FAA. Claiming that no information was received from the respondent authority, the appellant has filed 2nd appeal before the Commission.
3. Heard the submissions made by both the parties. The appellant submitted that he was falsely accused of outraging the modesty of his daughterinlaw. He also disputed the genuineness of the MLC records.
4. In Union of India through Director, Ministry of Personnel, PG & Pension v, Central Information commissioner, [W.P 8396/2009, 16907/2006, 4788/2008, 9914/2009, 6085/2008, 7304/2007, 7930/2009 and 3607 of 2007 on 30th November, 2009] the Delhi High Court held:
“87.FIR and post mortem reports are information as defined under Section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act as they are material in form of record, documents or reports which are held by the public authority.
89. In the present writ petition the Asst. Commissioner of Police has not been able to point out and give any specific reason how and why disclosure of the first information report even when the name of the informant is erased would impede process of investigation, apprehension of offenders or prosecution of offenders. In fact both the Public Information Officer as well as the first Appellate Authority have stated that the first information report has to be furnished to the accused and the informant. It is also not denied that a copy of the first information report has been sent to the concerned Magistrate and forms part of the record of the criminal court. It is not pleaded or stated that the first information report has been kept under sealed cover. It may be also noticed that the respondent no.2 in the counter affidavit has stated that one of the persons who has been detained is the son of the caretaker of the flat at Batla House. In these circumstances I do not see any reason to interfere with and modify the order passed by CIC directing furnishing copy of FIR minus the name of the informant. The contention of the petitioner that copy of the FIR cannot be furnished to the respondent no.2 under the Code is without merit as the said information has been asked for under the RTI Act and whether or not the information can be furnished has to be examined by applying the provisions of the RTI Act. As per Section 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. of the RTI Act, the said Act overrides any contrary provision in any other earlier enactment including the Code.”
If disclosure of such information impedes the investigation or apprehension of offender or prosecution of offender, it can be denied, as held by the Delhi High Court in the above referred case. Section does not provide a blanket exemption, even if partial information wherever justified could be given. Delhi High Court explained that the disclosure of post mortem reports when investigation is in progress could not be given.
5. The Commission finds that as an accused, this appellant has every right to know the information which can be of any help to either prove his stand or disprove the allegation against him. However, details of doctors who prepared MLC and the police officers who asked for the MLC are not necessary and relevant to the right of accused to know the details of MLC. The names of public servants involved in official work, if revealed might endanger life or physical safety of those persons, and hence can be denied under Section 8(1)(g).
However, the accused appellant can seek the copy of MLC only when it does not impede the process of investigation as per Section 8(1)(h). In this case, it was reported by the respondent that it was handed over to the Court for trial. This means investigation is over and the trial is pending. If the appellant is accused, as claimed by him in this case, he is entitled to get each and every copy of the MLC being used against him.
5. The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent authority/PIO to facilitate meeting with the appellant who is advised to meet the PIO within 1 week of receipt of this Order in his office at Room No. 318, 3rd Floor, Administrative Block, GTB Hospital, as mutually agreed by them, furnish the name of the person about whom the MLC is prepared and consider giving of further information only after due consultation with the prosecutors involved in the case. The Commission directs the Respondents to give a report after this exercise to the Commission, within two weeks. The appeal is disposed of.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Shri Chotey Lal Gupta v. Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital GNCTD, Delhi in File No.CIC/DS/A/2013/002025SA