Is permission of police required to get information under RTI?
An application was filed under the Right to Information (TI) Act seeking to get a list of project implementation area under the Chennai-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway project, the list of hutments and commercial complexes that will be evicted and details about the resettlement scheme for evicted people.
The RTI query was filed under Section 7 (1) of the RTI Act, according to which information pertaining to the livelihood of affected persons should be provided within 48 hours. Though most of the concerned departments like National Highways Authority of India, Water Resource Organisation of Public Works Department, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Chennai Corporation were quite prompt in providing information, the Community Development Wing of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) didn’t respond to the query. When the applicant complained to the TNSCB secretary, the Chief Community Development Officer told him that information could not be provided as the issue was sub-judice.
Then the applicant approached the first appellate authority which directed the appellant to visit the department to peruse the files. When the appellant sought a copy of the files, the TNSCB said that a concurrence letter from the police that the information would not be misused was required without which information would not be provided.