Does Second Schedule of RTI Act provide blanket protection from disclosing innocuous information?
The appellant stated that the father of his friend was an employee of Border Roads Development Board (BRDB). The father died while in service and the son made a request for appointment on compassionate grounds but no such appointment was given. In this regard, he filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the BRDB. The PIO did not respond to the application.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that BRDB is an excluded organization in terms of section 24 of the RTI Act and thus no information is disclosable to the appellant.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that section 24 applies to certain intelligence and security organizations specified in the Second Schedule for the purpose of protecting these organizations in regard to matters involving national security etc. The Commission further noted that in the present case the appellant is seeking information about the representation made by him for a compassionate appointment. The requested information has no bearing whatsoever on the national security. The Commission ruled that the inclusion of BRDB in the Second Schedule does not provide blanket protection to it for refusing innocuous information to the appellants. The Commission directed the PIO to provide the information to the appellant stating that despite inclusion of BRDB in the Second Schedule, the requested information is disclosable to the appellant.
The order of the CIC in favour of disclosure is welcome but unfortunately is not likely to withstand judicial scrutiny as the exemption provided in the RTI Act under section 24 is absolute in all matters barring corruption or human rights violation.
Citation: Mr. Azad Singh Rana v. Border Roads Development Board, in File No.CIC/LS/A/2012/001226
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/577
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