TRAI: Information regarding surveillance, tapping or interception is not available with TRAI; RTI application was transferred & MHA gave a reply - CIC: Main issue is sub-judice before the Delhi High Court; Query is not strictly covered u/s 2(f) of RTI Act23 Aug, 2021
The appellant has sought the following information:
- Provide the information if mobile No. - 8505810798 is/was tapped or diverted without the consent of the applicant, from backend for the following periods:
(i) January 2019
(ii) 8th February 2O19
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant in second appeal submitted that she is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO or the FAA’s order as the desired information was not provided to her. The CPIO reiterated the contents of his initial reply dated 30.05.2019 & his recent submissions dated 28.05.2021.
From a perusal of the relevant case records and the submissions of the CPIO dated 28.05.2021, it is noted that a suitable reply was given to the appellant whereby the appellant was informed that information regarding surveillance, tapping or interception is not available with TRAI, however, the same may be available with DoT or Ministry of Home Affairs and the RTI application was transferred to them.
On a query to the CPIO as to whether any reply was given to the appellant from DoT or Ministry of Home Affairs, the CPIO, MHA submitted that an appropriate reply was given to the appellant on 28.06.2019.
The CPIO vide his written submissions dated 28.05.2021 had also stated that the appellant has also filed a Writ Petition with No. 1273 of 2019 titled “Kamini Bagai v. NCT of Delhi” before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, against alleged police inaction on her complaints of possible tapping of her mobile numbers. The Hon’ble High Court has already passed several orders in the matter, including a direction to DCP, Cyber Crime (Special Cell) to submit a report under his own hand vide order dated 02.05.2019, a direction to the IO to check whether the appellant’s phone was being tapped (vide order dated 26.09.2019), and a direction to preserve the call records of the appellant’s mobile numbers from January-March, 2019 vide order dated 08.01.2020. The appellant has filed the above mentioned RTI application raising the same issue, despite the matter being sub-judice. The Commission finds since the main issue is sub-judice before the Delhi High Court, no action can be taken. It is also pertinent to mention that the query raised by the appellant is not strictly covered u/s 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act, hence, no relief whatsoever can be given to the appellant.
In view of the above, the Commission upholds the submissions of the CPIO and does not find any scope for further intervention in the matter.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Kamini Bagai v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT and Ministry of Home Affairs in File no.: CIC/TRAOI/A/2019/137856, Date of Decision: 02/06/2021