Published On: October 18, 2021 at 15:15 IST
The Supreme Court of India directed the Delhi High Court to decide if the Security and Intelligence Organisations of the Country come under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
The Bench was headed by Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna. There were no objections from the Government when the High Court passed the directions.
“It is the specific case on behalf of the Department that the RTI Act was not applicable to the organisation/department. Despite the above and without deciding such an objection, the high court has directed the appellant to furnish the documents sought under the RTI Act without deciding the applicability of the RTI Act. That will be putting the cart before the horse,” the Bench said.
The Apex Court said that the High Court should decide the applicability of the RTI Act for these Organisations.
“We direct the high court to first decide the issue with respect to the applicability of the RTI Act to the appellant organisation/department and thereafter decide the stay application/LPA. The aforesaid exercise shall be completed within a period of eight weeks, “ said the Bench in its recent Order.
The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre against a 2018 High Court decision. It is directed to provide information to the employee within 15 days.
The High Court said that since the employee was facing some prejudices regarding seniority, he had asked for information that did not harm the security nor the secrecy.
“Though the petitioner organisation is kept away from RTI Act, but that is not regarding the information to its employee, if any of his rights have been denied. The information sought by the respondent from the petitioner does not come under Section 24 of the Act,” the High Court had said.
Section 24 of the Act exempts a few Intelligence and Security Organisations from the scope of the transparency law.