RTI application seeking details of use of satellite phones for anti-naxal operations
The appellant sought the information that whether Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) ever examined the need of Broad Band Global Area Network Satellite Telephone (BGAN) services for use by Police and Para Military force to fight naxalite menace in the country. The appellant further wanted to know the details and the copies for the conclusions reached and the copy of correspondence on this subject between the MHA and Ministry of Telecommunication at the level of Minister, Home Affairs or at any other level. The appellant also sought the copies of the noting of the file(s) in which this matter has been dealt. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied disclosure in terms 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 the Right to Information (RTI) Act as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is listed in the Second Schedule of the Act and have been given qualified exemption from the application of the Act. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) also stated that the information requested cannot be provided as per exemptions under section 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act.
During the hearing, the respondent submitted that a decision was taken for the improvement of the connectivity between the security forces for whom lack of communication was emerging as a barrier in successful execution of the anti naxal operations. A number of handsets were considered depending upon a number of factors like pace of connectivity, quality of voice in interior areas, compactness, portability etc. and the technology on which these equipment operated were varying in nature. The Broad Band Global Area Network Satellite Telephone (BGAN) services also had certain technical specifications and the disclosure of these parameters can create a danger to the internal security. Further, the respondent stated that the policy was at an emergent stage and was considered to be nascent as far as their usage in the naxal areas was concerned.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) agreed with the PIO and FAA decision that the provisions of Section 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act apply in this case and hence disposed the appeal.
Citation: Mr. K.R. Jain v. Ministry of Home Affairs in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001708
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/526
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