Crime branch only partially exempted under RTI Act
22 Apr, 2013
An FIR was lodged at the civil lines police station in Hisar in 2010 alleging mental harassment by the management of New Yashoda Public School in Hisar. Later, the FIR was cancelled on the recommendations of the investigating officer.
The complainant, then, filed four applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with various wings of Haryana police viz. Vigilance Bureau, offices of Hisar SP and DGP and Crime Branch seeking information on the FIR that she had lodged and the copy of the enquiry report. Later, the applicant received replies from the Vigilance Bureau and from the offices of Hisar SP and DGP but no reply was provided by the crime branch which claimed exemption citing a Haryana government's notification issued in 2005 which said that Crime Branch, Haryana Armed Police, Security Organisations of Police, Haryana Police Telecommunication Organisation, Indian Reserve Battalion and Commando were beyond the purview of the RTI Act as per sub-section (4) of Section 24 of the Act.
The matter came up before the Haryana State Information Commission (SIC) where the commission held that the exemption of crime branch was subject to conditions i.e. in only those matters which involve security of the state, public order and other related sensitive issues. The SIC has now asked the crime branch to make the demanded information available to the appellant within 10 days. This is a radical interpretation of the RTI Act whereby the scope of notifications issued by the government under section 24 of the Act putting an organisation beyond the purview of the RTI Act has been limited.