It is apparent from the plain reading of the first proviso to Section 24(1) of Right to Information Act, 2005 that information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violation are not excluded from the purview.
The petitioner contended that since the information sought related to allegations of corruption, the same were not excluded from the scope of Section 24(1) of the Act.
The learned counsel for the petitioner had countered the aforesaid contention and submitted that the proviso must be read in a restricted manner and, only information pertaining to allegations of corruption relating to the public authority – in this case CBI – was excluded from the purview of Section 24(1) of the Act. It was contended that since the information sought by the respondent pertain to allegations of corruption in other organizations, the first proviso would be inapplicable and, the petitioner would not be obliged to disclose the same.
The aforesaid question is squarely covered by the decision of the Coordinate Bench of this Court in CPIO, Intelligence Bureau v. Sanjiv Chaturvedi: W.P.(C) 5521/2016, decided on 23.08.2017, whereby this Court has held as under:-
“29. The plain reading of the proviso shows that the exclusion is applicable with regard to any information. The term “any information”would include within its ambit all kinds of information. The proviso becomes applicable if the information pertains to allegations of corruption and human rights violation. The proviso is not qualified and conditional on the information being related to the exempt intelligence and security organizations. If the information sought, furnished by the exempt intelligence and security organizations, pertains to allegations of corruption and human rights violation, it would be exempt from the exclusion clause.
30. The proviso “Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section”has to be read in the light of the preceding phrase “or any information furnished by such organizations to that Government”.
31. When read together, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that, if the information sought pertains to allegation of corruption and human right violation, it would be exempt from the exclusion clause, irrespective of the fact that the information pertains to the exempt intelligence and security organizations or not or pertains to an Officer of the Intelligence Bureau or not.”
The respondent who is present in Court states that the information sought by him has become stale and, he be permitted to file a fresh application under the Act. Plainly, the respondent is not precluded from filing an application before the petitioner for information relating to allegations of corruption or human rights violation. In the event such application is filed, the petitioner would examine the same. Although, it would not be open for the petitioner to claim that information relating to allegations of corruption in other organization is exempt from disclosure, however, the petitioner would be at liberty to examine whether the information sought by the petitioner is exempt under any of the clauses of Section 8(1) of the Act.