Is the information regarding 2G scam liable to be disclosed under RTI?
There has been a spate of applications under the RTI Act, including those from the media trying to bring the true facts before the public. However, it cannot be denied that a section of the media has tried to sensationalise the matter just for the sake of TRP or readership which has led to a convoluted presentation of facts. In such an important matter, it is imperative that the investigation is carried out properly in a time bound manner and the results are put up before the citizens on whose behalf the country is being governed.
In such a situation, should the documents related to the 2G scam be disclosed under RTI? If no, which sections of the RTI Act exempt the disclosure of such information? It has been reported that the following sections of the RTI Act have been used by the different CPIO’s to deny the information:-
- Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; — ‘Information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders’. In many orders the CPIO fail to mention how the disclosure of the information sought will impede the process of investigation or prosecution of offenders
- Section 8(1)(c) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; of the RTI — “information the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislator.” A Joint Parliamentary Committee is probing the 2G matter and disclosure of information relating to the 2G matter can lead to breach of privilege of the parliament.
In some cases, authentic information relating to the 2G scam has come into public domain like when Justice Shivraj Patil voluntarily released over 1,300 pages of evidence as a part of his January 2011 report on the 2G scam to the Department of Telecom (DoT). Only time would tell the outcome of the 2 G scam investigation. Hopefully, it is something which increases the faith of the citizens in the system.