Copy of note sheets relating chargesheet and prosecution against the appellant
The appellant sought (1) a copy of note sheets relating to granting permission to CBI to file prosecution against the appellant in the trial court and (2) a copy of note sheets relating to approving of charge sheet issued to the appellant in the departmental proceedings. It was denied claiming that disciplinary proceedings and prosecution proceedings were pending. It was also stated that the case against the appellant was based on the report of the CBI (third party) and therefore the information could not be given to the applicant in terms of the provisions of section 11 of the RTI Act.
View of the CIC
The respondent argued that the departmental disciplinary proceedings and the criminal case instituted by the CBI were yet not concluded and disclosure of information at this stage would be detrimental to the Department. It was stated that that disclosure would have vide ramification as the appellant would then know the line of investigation and would try to influence/impede the process and being premature would be injurious to the process of investigation. The Commission observed that the material sought by the appellant undoubtedly relates to an ongoing court proceeding (and also a departmental enquiry) and hence it can be rightly said to be under the control of the Trial Court who alone can decide how the information is to be dispensed. Therefore any action under the RTI act for disclosure of that information to the very party who is arraigned before the trial court would have the effect of interfering with the discretion of the court, thereby impeding an extant prosecution proceeding. The Commission referred to the double bench decision of the Delhi High Court in SP Singh versus Union of India and Ors wherein it was ruled that any material connected with an ongoing prosecution cannot be accessed through the RTI Act. Further, the Commission held that forcing the CBI to provide the evidence, records and documents it otherwise would provide to him only through the directive of the trial court, would have the effect of interfering with the CBI's right to marshal evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. This is CBI's right before the trial court, which would be seriously compromised if the appellant were allowed to force it to give out information and documents through the RTI Act. The Commission upheld the denial of information to the appellant holding that The Criminal Procedure Code and criminal jurisprudence in India has provided all necessary protection to the accused to ensure principle of natural justice and to give full opportunity to the accused to defend his case as per provision of section 91 of Cr PC.
Citation: Shri Dhirender Kumar Jha Shimoga v. Income Tax Department in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/000643