The Bombay High Court has ruled that the Police Manual is a public document, upholding a direction to upload the same on the Police website.
The Applicant, Mr. Kaustubh Gharat of Praja Foundation had sought copies of Police Manual in English and Marathi under the Right to Information Act from the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra State. His application was, however, rejected citing Section 8(1)(g) of the Act.
Section 8(1)(g) exempts from disclosure information which would "endanger the life of physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes".
While his first appeal was also rejected, the Chief Information Commissioner had, in his second appeal, directed copies of the police manual to be provided to him. It had further directed that it be uploaded on the website of the Maharashtra Police. The High Court was now hearing an appeal filed by the Mumbai Police challenging this order.
Dismissing this appeal, the Bench comprising Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sadhana S. Jadhav observed that the Police Manual is in fact a public document under the RTI Act, and ruled, "Respondent No. 2 in the present case is not seeking any information as contemplated under section 8(1) (e), (g) and (h). Police Manual cannot be equated with the information and therefore, there is no impediment in giving copies thereof to him. Sub-section 8(2) has no application in the present facts and circumstances of the case. Judicial note can be taken of the fact that police manual is Government publication and copies of same are easily available. We, therefore, do not find any error in the impugned order."
Read the Order Here