Number of posts for officers in the CBI and the mechanism of filling them – section 24(1) allows for disclosure in cases of corruption - while dealing with a complaint case, the CIC cannot direct disclosure of any information
1. In his RTI application, the complainant had sought a number of information regarding the number of posts of officers in the CBI from the year 2003 and up to the year 2012 including the vacant posts, posts filled up and adjusted during this period. He had also wanted to know about the mechanism about feeling up of the vacant posts. The CPIO had refused to provide any information on the ground that the CBI had since been included in the second schedule to the Right to Information (RTI) Act and was, therefore, not obliged to disclose such information. He had also returned the RTI application in original
along with the application fee.
2. During the hearing, the complainant drew our attention to the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 28 April 2011 (LPA No. 744 & 755/2011) in which it had been held that the type of information sought by the complainant would come under the classification of allegations of corruption as mentioned in 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 the RTI Act and, should, therefore, be disclosed. In view of the direction of the High Court, the information sought by the complainant deserves to be disclosed. However, unfortunately, we cannot give any such direction to the CPIO of the CBI in view of the express directions of the Supreme Court of India in the Manipur CIC case in which it has held that the CIC, while dealing with a complaint case, cannot direct disclosure of any information. According to the Supreme Court in this order, the CIC can direct disclosure of information only while dealing with a second appeal. Since the present case is a complaint case, we are restrained from issuing any direction to the CPIO for disclosing the desired information.
3. As far as the act of the CPIO in returning the RTI application and the application fee is concerned, we do not agree with this and would like to advise the CPIO that irrespective of whether he decides to give the information or not, he has no reason to return the application or the application fee.
4. The complainant demanded that the CPIO should be penalised for returning the application along with the application fee and not providing the information. We do not agree with this demand. The CPIO of the CBI had passed a reasoned order and decided not to disclose the information because, in his opinion, the desired information did not fall in the category either of allegations of corruption or human rights violation. Therefore, merely because he returned the application, he cannot be punished.
5. The complaint is disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. Harinder Dhingra v. Central Bureau of Investigation in File No.CIC/SM/C/2013/000240