Kochi: The Union Government has informed the Kerala High Court that the CBI and National Investigation Agency (NIA) had been exempted from the purview of the RTI Act in the larger interest of national security.
The exemption under Sect 24 of the Act has been granted after receiving representations from the CBI and the NIA pointing at difficulties being faced by them following increased number of queries under the RTI Act, K G Verma, Joint Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training said in a counter affidavit.
The submission was made on a petition questioning the Centre`s June 6 notice, notifying inclusion of the CBI and the NIA in the second schedule (exemption clause) of the RTI Act, 2005.
Verma, contended that disclosure of sensitive information available with the CBI and the NIA under RTI act would not only impede the process of investigation and prosecution, but also reveal information relating to national security.
The petitioner`s apprehension that citizens are denied access to information by exempting the agencies was `unfounded` and `baseless`, he said.
Most functions of the two agencies are always under intense scrutiny of the judiciary, which had ensured a greater amount of transparency in their functions, he said, adding the Centre`s notification to include the agencies in the second schedule of the RTI Act, 2005 was perfectly legal.
The petitioner had stated, that the government`s decision was `illegal` and that it had abused its power by amending the second schedule of the RTI Act.