Would the complaints against CBI officers be beyond the purview of RTI?
Acting on the directions of the Supreme Court to come up with proposals to make the CBI autonomous and free from external influences, the Central government has suggested an Accountability Commission among other recommendations, to examine complaints against the officials of the organisation. As per the proposals, the inquiry proceedings against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers would be beyond the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
As per the affidavit filed by the government before the Supreme Court, "Notwithstanding anything contained in the Right to Information Act, 2005 or any other law for the time being in force, all papers, documents and records of the proceedings related to a complaint and the inquiry shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed by any person in any proceeding except as directed by the Commission." The proposals say that only after permission from the Accountability Commission, the findings on such complaints can be made public.
While the CBI officials might have taken a sigh of relief, the RTI activists have criticised the move claiming that the proposals are retrograde and show bringing more restrictions than those that were contemplated. The proposals given by the Centre would be heard by the Supreme Court on July 10.
As per Section 24 of the RTI Act, the security and intelligence organisations like RAW, DRI, NTRO etc. are beyond the purview of the RTI Act and disclosure of information can be allowed only in cases pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations.
Earlier the Supreme Court criticism of the CBI and terming it a "caged parrot" had created an uproar and a flurry of measures are being planned to make the agency autonomous.