DAE requests from exemption from the RTI Act
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has asked the department for personnel and training (DoPT) to keep it beyond the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act claiming that the transparency law is in conflict with its international commitments which require “strict confidentiality”.
The DAE is responsible for the country's nuclear programme and reports directly to the Prime Minister. The section 24 of the RTI Act prescribes certain intelligence and security organisations which are beyond its purview except for requests related to corruption and human rights violations. These organisations are listed in schedule II and DAE has requested that its name may be added to the list. In a note seeking exemption, the DAE has argued that it is a scientific organisation having units with foreign collaboration, which were agreed upon to be maintained with strict commercial confidence and respect for intellectual property rights. The note adds “Disclosures under the RTI would harm competitive position of third parties which agreed to work with us expecting their technical expertise would be protected”.
The DoPT sought the opinion of the Ministry of Law on this request which in turn has cited the need for parliamentary approval on the subject. The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in September 2011 and is yet to be passed by the parliament.