23 April 2023 10:30 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has upheld an order passed by the Central Information Commission denying information under Right to Information Act to a death row convict seeking documents related to the ban on Indian Mujahideen under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.Justice Prathiba M Singh dismissed the plea of Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddique, a death row convict in Mumbai Train Blast...
The Delhi High Court has upheld an order passed by the Central Information Commission denying information under Right to Information Act to a death row convict seeking documents related to the ban on Indian Mujahideen under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Justice Prathiba M Singh dismissed the plea of Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddique, a death row convict in Mumbai Train Blast case (7/11 Bomb Blast case), challenging the CIC order denying him the information.
The court said that the information consisting of background notes and reports on the ban would have to be viewed not merely from the view of Ehtesham’s right to information but also from the larger issue of country’s safety and security under section 8 of RTI Act.
“Information contained in these notes and reports, if disclosed, could also severely jeopardise various sources which may have provided information to the law enforcement agencies and other Government authorities both at the level of State Governments and the Central Government. Thus, in the opinion of this Court, the CIC’s position vide decision dated 13th June 2019, that the disclosure of the said information to the Petitioner would endanger the life or physical safety of persons would be correct and would not require interference by this Court,” the court said.
In October 2017, Ehtesham sought the information on the UAPA ban from CPIO of Union Ministry of Home Affairs which was denied to him. Since his first appeal remained pending and no order was passed, he approached the CIC.
On June 13, 2019, the CIC said that the disclosure was exempted under section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act and thus, the information sought could not be provided to Ehtesham.
It was Ehtesham’s case that the exemption would not be applicable as the information has been used by the Union Government to take action of banning the organisation.
Denying him relief, Justice Singh said that the nature of information would also have a bearing on the “sovereignty, integrity and the security interests of India.”
“Therefore, even the exemption provided under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, which is not relied upon by the CPIO, would be applicable in the present case,” the court said.
Case Title: EHTESHAM QUTUBUDDIN SIDDIQUE v. CPIO (IS-I) (IS-IV DESK) MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 336
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