Disclosure of the Manual of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption
In the case of Jose Dhanapaul v. The State, the Madras High Court has ordered the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti - Corruption (DVAC) to upload the copy of the DVAC Manual on their website and update the same from time to time.
Cases of corruption were two persons who, in two separate petitions, requested the Madras High Court to direct the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to produce the DVAC Manual before the Court. They argued that while conducting the investigation, the DVAC violated very many mandatory provisions of the said Manual.
The trial Court found that the DVAC Manual is non-statutory in character and there is a possibility of the said Manual being available in the bookshops, wherein the petitioners can purchase it. The trial Court further found that the said petitions have been filed only to protract trial and dismissed both the petitions, by separate orders dated 07.01.2015. Aggrieved by the same, both the petitioners came forward with two separate Criminal Original Petitions.
Arguments by the petitioners
The petitioners contended that even as per the own admission of the respondent, certain guidelines have been provided to the Investigating Agency as to how and the manner in which they will proceed with the investigation. However, the respective Investigating Officer has violated the said guidelines with impunity and to strengthen the defence of the respective petitioner, the production of DVAC Manual is absolutely necessary.
Arguments by the Respondents
DVAC Manual is only a guideline to his subordinates and also kept it as a secret privilege document not displayed before any forum.
View of the High Court
The High Court bench noted that the CBI Manual is almost in paramateria with DVAC Manual and it is uploaded in the website by the CBI. The bench held that:-
(i) Stand taken by the respondent of the manual being a secret privileged document is wholly untenable for the reason that there must be transparency in performance of public duty and in event, cannot claim privilege before the Court of law
(ii) DVAC Manual is non-statutory character and the said legal position is no longer res integra in the light of the judgments rendered by the Court in K.Selvarajan and Others Vs. The State reported in 2004 CRL.L.J. 3754.
(iii) No purpose will be achieved by directing the respondent to produce the DVAC Manual before the trial Court as even if the guidelines contained in the DVAC Manual are violated, the accused cannot take advantage of the same.
(iv) It is for the Department to take appropriate disciplinary action against the erring Officials.
(v) The DVAC is directed to upload the DVAC Manual in their website within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and update the same from time to time.
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2015/CIC/1477
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission