Information about creation of IB; mechanism for control and accountability was sought from MHA - application transferred to IB which claimed exemption u/s 24 - Subsequently, MHA informed that IB is not the creation of a Central Act
Information about creation of IB; mechanism for parliamentary, judicial, executive oversight; mechanism for financial audit and accountability of RAW sought from MHA - application transferred to IB which claimed exemption u/s 24 - Subsequently, MHA provided information that IB is not the creation of a Central Act / Statute
The present appeal, filed by Maj. Gen. V.K. Singh (Retd.) against Ministry of Home Affairs, was taken up for hearing on 12.11.2013 when the Respondents were present through Shri Harish Chander, Dy. Secretary, MHA; Shri Viplav, AD, Intelligence Bureau and Shri S.P. Dubey, AD, Intelligence Bureau. The Appellant was present in person.
2. The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 31.08.2012 with the CPIO, Prime Minister’s office, South Block, New Delhi seeking following information:
“1. Is there any Act or Ordinance sanctioning the creation of IB? If so, a copy of the Act of Ordinance may be provided.
2. If not by an Act or Ordinance, was the IB created by an Executive or Administrative Order? If so, a copy of the relevant order may be provided.
3. Is there any mechanism for parliamentary, judicial or executive oversight over IB? If so, details may be provided.
4. Is there any mechanism for financial audit and accountability of RAW? If so, details may be provided.
5.Was there ever any proposal for Institution of a mechanism for parliamentary/ judicial/ executive oversight or financial audit of IB? If so, details of the proposal and its final disposal may be provided.”
3. The CPIO, Prime Minister’s office transferred this application to the CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs, who, in turn, further transferred it to the CPIO, Intelligence Bureau under section 6(3) of the RTI Act vide letter dated 18.09.2012
4. The CPIO, Intelligence Bureau accordingly vide his letter dated 04.10.2012 informed the Appellant that “As per provisions of the RTI Act 2005, Chapter VI, Section 24 (1) and Second Schedule, the Bureau of Immigration / Intelligence Bureau is exempted from providing any information/details on the subject matter. Hence, it is regretted that the information sought cannot be provided.”
5. Aggrieved by the reply of the CPIO, Intelligence Bureau, the Appellant filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Intelligence Bureau on 16.10.2012 on following grounds:
“a) The information asked for does not concern the functioning of the IB but details of the external mechanism for its supervision, which should be known to the PMO.
b) The fact that the IB was established by an order dated 23.12.1887 issued by the Secretary of State of India, London in 1887 was mentioned in the address of Mr. M.K. Narayanan, then Director of IB (and later National Security Advisor, Govt. of India) at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Centenary Celebration of the IB New Delhi on 23.12.1987. This is given in the booklet released by the IB titled “The Intelligence Bureau Centenary Issue.”
6. The Appellate Authority, Intelligence Bureau decided this appeal vide his order dated 30.10.2012 recording that there are no ground for an appeal against the decision of the CPIO of IB in accordance with the provisions of RTI Act, as IB is exempted from providing any information under Second Schedule of 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 RTI Act 2005.
7. The Appellant then filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Ministry of Home Affairs on 10.12.2012 challenging the transfer of the RTI application to the Intelligence Bureau by the CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs. He stated that the CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs had deliberately transferred the RTI application to the IB knowing full well that IB is an exempted under the RTI Act. He also mentioned that “according to the Second Schedule of the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, the Intelligence Bureau functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Internal Security). It is inconceivable that the CPIOs are not aware of the department which can provide the information requested in the RTI application.”
8. This appeal was forwarded to the Appellate Authority & JS (ISI), Ministry of Home Affairs for necessary action by CPIO vide letter dated 19.12.2012.
9. However, on not receiving any reply from the Appellate Authority & JS (ISI), Ministry of Home Affairs, the Appellant filed the present appeal before the Commission. In this appeal he has contested the action of the CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs of transferring his RTI application to the CPIO of the Intelligence Bureau.
10. During the hearing, Shri Harish Chander, Deputy Secretary & CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs informs the Commission that they have since furnished the pointwise reply/information to the Appellant vide letter dated 30.10.2013. He, however, clarifies that the information sought by the Appellant was not originally available with the Ministry of Home Affairs and that the same was collected later on from the Intelligence Bureau in connection with Writ Petition (No. 505/2012) filed before the Supreme Court against various intelligence agencies. He also produces a copy of reply dated 30.10.2013 before the Commission for its perusal. Through this reply, the Appellant has been, interalia, provided with detailed chronology of the creation of Intelligence Bureau; rules and legislation wherein the Intelligence Bureau has been referred to. It has also been clearly stated in this reply that the Intelligence Bureau is not the creation of a Central Act/Statute. The Appellant, present during the hearing, acknowledges receipt of this reply from the Respondents.
11. Having heard the submissions and perused the records, the Commission notes that factual information has been provided to the Appellant corresponding to his present RTI application which completes the disclosure requirement under the RTI Act.
12. In view of the no further action is warranted in the present appeal which is hereby closed.
Citation: Maj. Gen. V.K. Singh (Retd.) v. Ministry of Home Affairs in Case No.CIC/SS/A/2013/000551