Details of research project details funded by DRDO sought under RTI
The appellant sought information about the research projects funded by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in Engineering College of Bangalore. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the disclosure of the information claiming that the organization was exempt under section 24(1) Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government: Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section: of the RTI Act. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) informed the appellant that certain information was available on the Manpower Management Center (MMC) website.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that DRDO has funded certain research projects at RVCE, Bangalore, which was related to defense related matters and, therefore, disclosure of the subjects of research and funding thereof would be prejudicial to the national security. He also contended that DRDO is an organisation beyond the purview of the RTI Act and, therefore, is not liable to disclose any information on this count as well. The respondent further submitted that the Ministry of Science & Technology regularly publishes a Directory of Extra Mural Research and Development Projects approved for funding by selected Central Government Agencies/Departments and it is open to the appellant to access this directory through the Ministry of Science and Technology, if he is so inclined.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) held that DRDO is beyond the purview of the RTI Act under section 24. Further, funding of defense related projects is covered under section 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act and hence the information cannot be disclosed.Therefore, the Commission upheld the PIO and the FAA decision.
Citation: Mr. N.S. Nadigar v. DRDO in File No.CIC/LS/A/2011/003399
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/599
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission