CBI Is Included In Second Schedule To RTI Act, 2005: Kerala HC Dismisses Appeal Challenging Refusal Of CBI Enquiry Report Copy
The Kerala High Court's Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly has dismissed the appeal challenging the Judgment of the Single Judge refusing to allow a plea seeking a copy of the CBI enquiry report to the complainant.
In this case, the retirement benefits of an ex-Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs was withheld on the basis of a case booked by the CBI alleging that while clearing certain sundry goods baggage of NRI Labourers, proper assessment was not done by him for monetary benefits.
The case projected by the appellant-commissioner is that even though allegations are made against all customs officers working in Airport; after investigation, an officer under the CBI, with ulterior/corrupt motives, manipulated the statements under Section 161 of Cr.P.C of three passengers as prosecution version and Department version. It is submitted that based on such manipulated version, managed exemption from prosecution for two Inspectors.
It is further submitted that the appellant had made complaint before the Director, CBI for an enquiry against the Investigating Officer and the Director CBI ordered for enquiry and it was completed and a report was submitted.
As per the appellant, even though he requested for a copy of the enquiry report, as the same is a crucial document having direct impact to prove his innocence, the same was not issued to him.
Thereupon, the appellant submitted an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 for securing a copy of the enquiry report; however it was declined.
The plea by the appellant before the Single Judge also came to be dismissed.
The sole question to be considered is whether any interference is required to the judgment of the Single Judge.
Advocate P.A. Augustian appeared for the Appellant whereas DSG of India Manu S. appeared for the Respondents.
The Court observed that the notification issued by the Government dated June 09, 2011 makes it clear that in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-Section 2 of Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005, the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and the National Intelligence Grid are included in the second schedule to the Act, 2005. Therefore, once CBI is included in the second schedule in contemplation of Section 24 of the Act, 2005, the said organization is not liable to furnish any information.
The Court further observed that "As per Section 8(i)(b) of the Act, 2005, any information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders is exempted from disclosure."
The Court also noted that the appellant, is seeking third-party information only for his purpose, which is not permitted as per the provisions of RTI Act.
"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.", the Court observed.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the writ appeal.
Cause Title- S. Rajeev Kumar v. The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation