The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea moved by a senior citizen challenging the order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) in November 2020 over declining the information sought in RTI regarding the status of corruption case registered in 1991.
Justice Yashwant Varma issued notice to the agency on the plea moved by Kulwant Singh through Advocate Arpit Bhargava seeking direction from the CBI to provide information as sought in the RTI of May 25, 2018. The Court has listed the petition for hearing on July 21, 2022.
The Bench observed, “This matter requires further investigation since the allegation of corruption has been raised and whether the same can be provided in view of provision to Section 24 of RTI Act. Let notice be issued.”
Advocate Arpit Bhargava submitted that the information sought in RTI was declined by both the investigation agency as well as CBI. He argued that according to the Act, the information related to the cases connected with the allegation of Corruption and the violation of Human Rights.
The Counsel further argued that the petitioner sought information being the complainant against the government officer. FIRs were registered on the complaint filed by the petitioner.
The Court asked, “What is the status?” The Counsel replied, “That is what I want to know. The officer was caught red-handed by the CBI.”
The Court observed, “The officer was arrested by the agency itself. This matter required further investigation since the allegations of corruption were raised.”
The petition stated that the petitioner had made a complaint to the CBI against the then Junior Engineer SC Joshi who was caught red-handed by the agency. An FIR on December 6, 1991, was registered in this case.
The petitioner, in 1994, made another complaint against the then Health Inspector, of MCD South Zone Shahdara, O.P. Sikara who was caught red-handed by the CBI. An FIR was registered in this matter on December 19, 1994, the petition stated.
It is also stated that the petitioner testified in both cases thereby assisting effective prosecution by the agency in the court. However, since the petitioner was not aware of the final result of the cases filed by the CBI, he filed an RTI Application on May 25, 2018, requesting the agency to provide information and a certified copy of the final judgments or the next date of hearing in both the cases, information to prevent corruption in DDA, MCD, Delhi Police, etc.
The petitioner also requested to provide information on whether the CBI is competent to conduct an investigation in the criminal case titled Kulwant Singh vs Mohit Gaur and others. The information sought was declined mentioning that the agency was exempted from the purview of RTI Act as the CBI is put in Serial No 23 of the Second Schedule to the RTI Act being exempt under section 24 of RTI Act.
This order was challenged before the First Appellate Authority (FAA) on August 13, 2018. The FAA had upheld the information provided by the agency. Aggrieved by the order of FAA, the petitioner had moved the second appeal before CIC which dismissed on November 27, 2020 observing CBI is exempted under Section 24 of RTI Act.