Why denied info on sexual harassment? CIC to IB

Last Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 14:44

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission
has sought explanation from the Intelligence Bureau for denying information on cases of corruption and sexual harassment against its officials under the Right to
Information Act.

The transparency watchdog has directed the Ministry of
Home Affairs to send its justification within ten days.
In reply to an RTI query, country`s internal security
intelligence agency has refused to make public the information
on cases of sexual harassment, corruption and human rights
violation against its officials in the last 10 years.

The agency had cited provisions of the RTI Act which
exempt it from disclosure of information. However, this clause
does not stand when the information sought is related to
allegations of human rights violation and corruption.

"As per (certain) provisions of the RTI Act 2005, the
Intelligence Bureau has been exempted from providing such
information or detail. Hence it is regretted that the
information sought cannot be provided," Public Information
Officer, IB had said in response to an RTI query filed by PTI.

The PIO`s decision was upheld by the the first appellate
authority also.

Following the denial of information from both the PIO and
FAA, the applicant had appealed before the CIC.

"The Commission hereby directs you to offer your comments
on this appeal/complaint within ten working days from the date
of the receipt of this letter, clearly giving justification
for denial of information," the CIC directed the Central
Public Information Officer of the IB.

Besides National Investigation Agency, Natgrid and CBI,
18 others intelligence and security organisations established
by the Central Government including Central Economic
Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,
Directorate of Enforcement, Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation
Research Centre, Special Frontier Force and seven central
para-military forces are kept out of the ambit of RTI Act.
The Crime Branch-CID-CB, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Special
Branch, Lakshadweep Police, Special Service Bureau and Special
Branch (CID), Andaman and Nicobar are also exempted under the
Act except for information on allegations of corruption and
human rights violations.

The Central Information Commission has also held in one
of its decision that sexual harassment amounts to human rights
violation.

While hearing one such matter related to RAW officer
Nisha Bhatia, the CIC has said "... this entire application
centres on allegations of sexual harassment which is a
material basis for allegations of human rights violation. We
have on earlier occasion also held that overt gender
discrimination amounts to violation of human rights."

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 14:44

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