Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to upload the crime manual on its website
The crime manual is a compilation of government instructions and guidelines to investigating officers on the mode of enquiry to be adopted by them in corruption cases. In the era of transparency, there seems little reason or need to keep documents such as the crime manual a secret specially when it put the accused to a disadvantage who need it desperately to establish their innocence during the course of trial. As per the exemptions provided under the RTI Act, the manual is not covered under any of the exemptions as per section 8 and therefore, there is no logic to hide it from public.
Justice M. Sathyanarayanan of the Madras High Court yesterday directed the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to upload the crime manual on its website within six weeks of the order. A bunch of petitions was filed by a few public servants who wanted to obtain the copy of the crime manual. They wanted to produce the manual as one of the evidence before the trial court to show that the investigating officer who investigated the case against them, did not follow the procedures prescribed under the manual. The Public Information Officer (PIO) and the First Appellate Authority of the DVAC refused to provide a copy of the manual to them and hence the case went up to the State Information Commission (SIC) which directed the DVAC to furnish a copy of the manual on November 28, 2011.
The DVAC challenged the SICs order through a writ petition in the High Court which was dismissed in December 2012 by Justice D. Hariparanthaman. The DVAC argued that the manual was a privileged document and it could not be made public. The High Court Bench ruled that DVAC was not entitled to claim such a privilege especially when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) itself had hosted its crime manual on its website.