Considering an appeal by S Rajeev Kumar of Thiruvananthapuram against the director of CBI, a division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly upheld a single bench’s judgment declining to interfere with the decision of CBI authorities.
Seeking a copy of the inquiry report against an investigating officer of CBI, on a complaint filed by him alleging action based on ulterior or corrupt motives, the appellant highlighted that no reason was assigned while denying his application for information under RTI.
Opposing this, CBI contended that it falls under one of the exempted categories under Section 8 of the RTI Act and that providing information by such agencies is exempted under Section 24 of the Act. As per Section 24, exempted agencies need not provide information under RTI Act, unless it pertains to allegations of corruption or human rights violations. The information sought also falls under sections 8(1)(h) and (j) of the Act.
According to Section 8(1)(h), information that would impede the investigation, apprehension, or prosecution of offenders need not be provided. Under sub-section (j), personal information that has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy need not be provided unless the central or state public information officers or the appellate authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information. The court pointed out that the appellant is seeking third-party information only for his purpose, which is not permitted under the Act.
After discussing sections 8(1)(h) and (j), the court said, “In that view of the matter, even assuming that no reasons are assigned, relying upon the provisions of law in the impugned orders, the authorities were justified in declining information. Considering the contentions advanced by the appellant in the aforesaid legal background, we are of the undoubted and definite opinion that no interference is required to the judgment of the learned single Judge…” The court dismissed the appeal.