Explain denial of info on sexual harassment cases: CIC to IB

Last Updated 08 September 2011, 08:03 IST

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." 

(Published 08 September 2011, 08:03 IST)

Follow us on