Chhattisgarh HC Rules Against Exemption of Economic Offenses Bureau | 26 Mar 2024

Why in News?

Recently, in a significant judgment, the Chhattisgarh high court has ruled that the notification dated 7th November, 2006, exempting the Chhattisgarh State Economic Offenses Investigation Bureau from the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 contradicts the first proviso to Section 24(4) of the said Act.

Key Points

  • According to the judgment, the impugned notification issued by the General Administration Department of the Government of Chhattisgarh cannot allow the government to withhold information pertaining to allegations of corruption involving the Bureau, except for information relating to sensitive and confidential activities undertaken by the said Bureau.
  • In light of this ruling, the court directed the state government to issue a clarificatory notification within three weeks.
  • On 15 November, 2016, the RTI activist and the petitioner had filed an application seeking information from the Economic Offenses Investigation Bureau.
    • In response, the Economic Offenses refused to provide information, stating that the state government had exempted the agency from providing information under the Right to Information Act through the notification issued on 7th November, 2006.
    • Challenging this notification, the RTI activist filed a petition before the division bench of the Chhattisgarh High Court, stating that Section 24(4) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 mentions that no institution can be exempted from providing information related to corruption and violations of human rights.

Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005

  • It is a legislative framework that empowers Indian citizens to access information held by public authorities. Enacted in 2005, the act aims to promote transparency, accountability, and participation in government processes.
  • It replaced the Freedom of Information Act 2002.
  • According to Section 22 of RTI Act, the provisions of this Act will be effective regardless of any contradictions with the Official Secrets Act of 1923, existing laws, or any agreements established through laws other than this Act