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RAW exempted under RTI ACT unless information sought relates to human rights, corruption: Delhi High Court

The High Court of Delhi has ruled that no information can be disclosed from the Research and Analysis Wing under the Right to Information Act, 2005, as R&AW was specifically mentioned as an exempt organisation in Section Schedule of the RTI Act.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh said that no information was not liable to be disclosed from R&AW under the RTI Act unless the nature of information sought was related to human rights or corruption-related issues.

The High Court recently made the observation on a petition filed by one Nisha Priya Bhatia seeking certified copies of applications for allotment of government accommodation made by the head of RAW.

Bhatia said she had filed an RTI application in 2012 seeking information from the Directorate of Estates, Government of India. She said she approached the CIC as no reply was received from the CPIO and the First Appellate Authority.

The CIC refused to order disclosure of information, observing that R&AW was covered under Section 24 of the RTI Act as an exempt organisation and no case of human rights or corruption was made out to attract the exception.

Justice Singh, while upholding the October 30, 2017 order of CIC, observed that the nature of information sought – the residences where the subject person who was the head of R&AW which was a security agency, would not be covered in the exemption.

(Case title: Nisha Priya Bhatia vs CPIO, Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Urban Development & Anr)

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