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CBI not Totally Exempt From RTI, Must Provide Info About Corruption, Human Rights: Delhi HC

Allegations of corruption in AIIMS, made by whistleblower officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi on purchase of cleaners and disinfectants, do not deal with “any sensitive investigation”.
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New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not totally from the RTI and has to provide information sought on corruption and human rights violation, the Delhi High Court has said.

In a ruling on January 30 in the case, Central Public Information Officer, CBI, Vs. Sanjeev Chaturvedi, , the high court said that even though the Central agency is listed in the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act (exempted organisations), the proviso to Section 24 allows information related to allegations of corruption or human right violation to be provided to the RTI applicant, according to a report by the Bar & Bench.

“The very purpose of the proviso is to permit information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations to be provided to the applicant," Justice Subramonium Prasad held, as quoted by Bar & Bench.

The High Court proceeded to order the CBI to provide information to Chaturvedi, a whistleblower, and Indian Forest Service officer, who had flagged corruption in Delhi’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Chaturvedi, who had alleged corruption fogging solutions n in the purchase of cleaner disinfectants, was later removed as Chief Vigilance Officer of the medical institution.

In his RTI application, Chaturvedi had sought details from CBI on certified copies of file notings, documents etc. related to the investigation done by the probe agency, after which the CBI approached the Delhi HC, arguing that it is completely exempt from the purview of RTI.

The judge noted that the allegations of corruption made by Chaturvedi on purchase of cleaners and disinfectants, do not deal with “any sensitive investigation”, adding that it was not in a position to accept CBI’s arguments in this case.

 Chaturvedi is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay award (2015) for “his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of program and system improvements to ensure that.”

At that time, Chaturvedi had told NDTV that: "My mistake was (that) while fighting graft, I took (Prime Minister Narendra Modi's) 'Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga' slogan at face value,” according to a report in the Business Standard.

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