The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre to file a reply on the plea of 2006 Mumbai train bombings case convict, who has challenged the Central Information Commission (CIC) order declining him permission to seek information related to a 2007 notification over empowering the secretaries of state governments to sanction prosecution for offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the petition filed by Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddique, who was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the serial blasts. The court asked the government to file a reply within six weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on May 15.
Siddique, in a plea filed through advocate Arpit Bhargava, sought quashing of CIC order declining his permission to seek information through RTI. He has also requested to provide him information according to RTI. Siddique was arrested in July 2006 and falsely implicated in 7/11 blast case by Anti-Terrorism Squad Mumbai. The charge sheet was filed against him on November 30, 2006, for various offences including those punishable under Section 10 and 13 of UAPA which falls under Chapter-III of UAPA.
Further, the sanction for prosecution for an offence under Section 10 and 13 of UAPA was accorded on January 2, 2007, by Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra under Section 45(i) UAPA. However, he was not authorised to sanction prosecution before the authorisation that is before June 21, 2007- the date of notification.
"Hence, the sanction for prosecution shall be null and void for the want of authorisation. Therefore, the question arises about the validity of notification dated 21.06.2007 and its binding effect and reason behind issuance of such notification," the plea said.
"The petitioner (Siddique) wishes to raise this issue before High Court and requires proposal and all other documents of respondent/department's file related to the issue of notification dated 21.06.2007 to show that the authorization by letter dated 27.09.2001 becomes useless and revoked after amendment in UAPA in 2004 in which the provision for according sanction for prosecution also changed from Section 17 to Section 45 UAPA," the plea said.
Additionally, for obtaining the true copy of the proposal and complete documents in the department's file relating to the issue of a notification dated June 21, 2007, under Section 45(i) UAPA, the Petitioner made an application dated May 14, 2017, under Right to Information Act 2005 to the government.
"That since the documents sought for, are crucial to show and/or prove that a sanction for prosecution was accorded by an officer who was not authorized to do so as on that date and to prove the innocence of the Petitioner and is thus, required for the life and liberty of the Petitioner and subsequent violation of his human rights, thus, being highly aggrieved by the aforesaid acts," the plea said.
On June 23, 2017, his RTI application was rejected under Section 8(1)(a) of RTI Act stating that the information sought by the petitioner relates to the subject of unlawful associations which relates to security, sovereignty and integrity of India and disclosure of the sought information may prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state.
(with ANI inputs)