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  • Case Name- S. Rajeev Kumar v. The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation [2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 572]
  • Bench- Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not required to provide any information requested under the RTI Act, according to a recent ruling by the Kerala High Court. This is because the CBI is exempt from the Act under Section 24 of the RTI Act because it is listed in the second schedule.
  • According to Section 24 of the RTI Act, the intelligence and security organisations listed in the Second Schedule that were established by the Central Government and any information provided to that Government are exempt from the Act's provisions. [Information relating to claims of corruption and abuses of human rights is not exempt.]
  • The subject of the Writ Appeal concerns the denial of a request made according to the Right to Information Act of 2005 and the  confirmation of the denial by an appellate authority. 
  • The Deputy Director of the CBI's Anti-Corruption Bureau filed a complaint alleging that the appellant's retirement benefits were withheld because, while working in the unaccompanied Baggage section of Air Cargo, Trivandrum, he failed to properly assess his entitlement to financial benefits when he was clearing certain sundry goods baggage of NRI labourers.
  • In response to a complaint made by the appellant before the Director of the CBI, an investigation into the Investigating Officer was carried out, and a report was submitted. The appellant claimed that the officers working under the third respondent manipulated the statements made by three passengers under Section 161 of the CrPC.
  • The Application was denied, along with an appeal submitted to the appellate authorities that was contested before the Single bench.
  • After carefully weighing the different objections put up by the parties, the single bench dismissed the petition. Therefore the present appeal was preferred.
  • The appellant's attorney, Advocate M.A. Baby, said that the enquiry report is essential for demonstrating the unreliability of the accusations made against him even at the pre-trial stage. 
  • The key complaint made by the counsel was that no justification for the primary authority's denial of the application was given. 
  • It was further argued that the orders issued by the authorities under the RTI Act are invalid under the law because both the first and second appellate authorities refused the information without providing any justification at all.
  • Deputy Solicitor General Advocate S. Manu, who is appearing for the respondents, argued that the information requested by the appellant falls under one of the exempt categories listed in Section 8 of the Act, 2005, and the respondents are privileged to withhold information as a result of the protection provided by Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005.
  • Additionally, it was argued that the appellant did not have the right to obtain a copy of the inquiry report, particularly in light of the government's 2011 notification in this respect.
  • The appellant claims that the enquiry report is necessary in order to request discharge at the beginning of the proceedings before the CBI Court, but the DSG emphasised that the appellant is not permitted to request any such relief by relying on a third party document.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, and the National Intelligence Grid are included in the second schedule to the RTI Act, 2005, according to a notification issued by the Government in 2011. The Court noted that this makes it clear that once CBI is included in the second schedule in contemplation of Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005, the said organisation will be subject to the powers granted by Section 24(2) of the RTI Act.
  • The Court also emphasised that under Section 8(i)(b) of the RTI Act, information that would obstruct the process of investigating, apprehending, or prosecuting offenders is exempt from disclosure, and under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act, 2005, there is no obligation to provide information that relates to personal information whose disclosure has no connection to any activity or interest of the public or would unreasonably invade the privacy of others.
  • The Court further stated that the authorities are right in rejecting the information because the information requested by the appellant is third-party information used only for his purpose, which is not permissible under the RTI Act. 
  • As a result, the Court dismissed the appeal.
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