Delhi High Court recently avoided any intervention in a Central Information Commission (CIC) order stating the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) doesn't come under the purview of the Right to Information Act (RTI) and is exempted from it. “RAW is an exempted organisation under the RTI. Unless the nature of the information sought relates to human rights or corruption-related issues, information is not liable to be disclosed,” read the CIC order.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said, “In the present petition, the nature of the information sought, i.e., the residences where the subject person who was the head of RAW which is a security agency, would not be covered in the exception.”
According to the finding of the CIC, RAW is covered by section 24 as an exempt organisation. In a statement, Justice Singh on April 26 said with reference to the above discussion, the impugned order does not deserve to be interfered with. It’s important to recall the RTI applicant on January 23, 2012, had sought “Certified copies of applications for allotment of government accommodation made by S.K. Tripathi; IPS (UP; 1972) between 1986 to present, from the Directorate of Estates, Government of India.”
The RTI applicant alleged no reply from the Center Public Information Officers (CPIO) was received in the first attempt, thus an appeal was filed again however to the first appellate authority. Yet again, no reply was received from the authority. Subsequently, a second appeal was preferred by the CIC. It was the case of the Petitioner that a letter on May 8, 2017, was written by G.P. Sarkar, Deputy Director of Estates to the Registrar of CIC requesting closure of Petitioner’s RTI application.
Finally in the second appeal filed by the petitioner that the impugned order was passed by the CIC, the Petitioner alleged. The High Court observed that section 24 of the RTI provides the law doesn’t apply to the security and intelligence organizations specified in the second schedule of the Act and RAW is one of the organisations mentioned therein. However, the first proviso to Section 24 provides an exception to the exemption provided in Section 24 if the information sought pertains to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations.