NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today upheld a CIC order directing the Centre and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to give a copy of a report regarding alleged harassment and false cases filed against IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi for exposing graft during his tenure as forest officer in Haryana.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva dismissed the IB's plea challenging Chief Information Commission's (CIC) April 2016 order directing them and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to provide a copy of the IB report in relation to the harassment, human rights violation and false cases filed against Chaturvedi.
"The appeal is dismissed," the court said. The detailed order is awaited.
While staying the CIC decision, the court had asked the 2002 batch Indian Forest Service officer of the Haryana cadre to file his reply to the IB's petition.
Appearing for the IB, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain had told the court that the report cannot be made public as the agency is protected under section 24 of the RTI Act, which provides that intelligence and security agencies cannot be forced to make any information public.
However, Chaturvedi, who served as the chief vigilance officer at AIIMS from 2012-14, had relied on the proviso to Section 24 which goes on to say that though intelligence and security agencies are exempt from the Act, they cannot claim exemption if the information sought from them relates to corruption and human rights violation.
Chaturvedi, who is currently posted as Conservator of Forest at Haldwani in Nainital District of Uttarakhand, had sought through RTI, a copy of the IB report submitted in relation to false cases filed against him by "corrupt" officers exposed by him during his term as divisional forest officer (DFO) in Haryana.
MOEF had sought the opinion of the IB, which had objected to the disclosure. Chaturvedi had then approached the CIC.
The officer in his application to the CIC had said that obtaining the report would help him fight the violation of his human rights caused by those public servants whose corruption he had exposed as part of his duties as an IFS officer.
He had argued that the harassment and false allegations against him were directly linked to his exposure of corruption in the Haryana government, as well as at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The CIC had held that even though the IB is exempted from sharing information under the RTI Act, under Section 24 of the Act it has to share information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations.