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Cabinet exempts CBI from RTI Act
NEW DELHI, Jun 11 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Jun. 2011 10:57 PM IST
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In a decision which might irk RTI activists, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been exempted from giving information under Right to Information Act. The decision was taken by the Cabinet on Thursday following repeated requests by the agency on the grounds that it probed sensitive cases, and in doing so, it “becomes difficult for it to share information and also in accessing the information’.
The Cabinet took note of CBI’s request for exemption after a series of meetings in the committee of secretaries (CoS). The agency mentioned in its request that it “holds the investigations of several politically sensitive cases which have inter-state and international ramification’ and has to provide this information to a large number of RTI pleas.
The CoS, headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, had recommended that CBI’s request was valid but there were dissenting voices in the panel as well, which stated that the “move will put question marks on the transparency of the government at a time when CBI is investigating sensitive cases like 2G spectrum scam and CWG scam’.
CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra, however, told TOI that she was not aware of the development. “If CBI has been exempted from RTI Act, then this is what we wanted. We have cases where information keeps on coming even after investigations are over. In that case, providing information leads to several problems,’ she said.
The agency had sent its request to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking immunity from providing information under RTI Act and DoPT had taken the law ministry’s views on the request.
A CBI official said, “In a particular case registered in CBI, opinion is written by every officer from investigating officer to the director on a single file. The file forms part of crucial evidence and if this evidence is shared through RTI, then it may hamper the investigations and the trial.’
Every week, CBI is flooded with requests under RTI where people ask for either file notings in cases where the agency has filed a closure report or where chargesheet has been filed. “In many cases, even the accused persons who are being investigated by us ask for information which should not be available to them,’ a CBI officer said.
It is being felt that after CBI was exempted from RTI Act, several other agencies will move the government with similar requests.

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