New Delhi: Information which could help in proving innocence of a person in a criminal case should be provided to RTI applicants unless there is a legal provision barring disclosure, Central Information Commission has held.
Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu gave the directives while ordering disclosure of information in a case where an RTI applicant was suspended in an anti-corruption case and later retired.
He pleaded that his terminal benefits were not released because of pendency of anti-corruption case against him. He said there was a false allegation that he had demanded money for implementing the mutation order issued by the SDM.
Applicant Lal Chand said disclosure of information would help him in proving his innocence in the case.
Acharyulu said in the order, "If the information sought is considered to be capable of establishing innocence of accused in a criminal case, that makes the right to such information much stronger and the public authority has a duty to furnish such information to its former employee."
He said the Commission was of the opinion that disclosure of the information sought by the applicant has a potential to prove his innocence.
"It is proper and reasonable to disclose the information unless the same falls under any of the exempted category. Especially when the appellant required having this information to get relief in criminal allegations, it is the duty of the PIO to provide it unless any legal provision bars it," he said.