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Kerala: RTI can't get you info on interstate water row

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Sajib Nandi

The state government has exempted all information and documents relating to interstate water issues from disclosure under Right to Information Act.

 

A government order (GO) in this regard was issued by the water resources department on Tuesday. The decision was taken fearing that disclosing the information might affect the cases pending at various courts, including the Supreme Court.

 

Read details: RTI can't get you info on interstate water row - The Times of India

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RAVEENA_O

The State Government has no such power to put a blanket ban on disclosure of such a class of information. When the matter is before the judicial forum, it is for that judicial forum to expressly forbidden to disclose any such class of information pertaining to the litigation.

 

Even when an exemption under Sec-8 or 9 is applicable, it is for the PIO to take a decision on each request on case to case basis by recording reasons for denial. But even after that, the applicant has further right of appeal and review (2nd appeal).

 

Material pertaining to the inter state water dispute shall not qualify exemption under Section-8 or 9. It shall not fit into any of the phrases of Sec-8(1)(a) of the Act. The Act do not confer any power to the State Governments to classify any information to belong to an exemption enumerated under Sec-8 or 9. The GR is an executive order, which cannot nullify the creation of a legislature. This GR cannot stand scrutiny of law.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

The State Govt. could easily fit this in economic interest of the state u/s 8(1)(a) which states:

(a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and

integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the

State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence

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karira
The State Govt. could easily fit this in economic interest of the state u/s 8(1)(a) which states:

(a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and

integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the

State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence

 

How will revealing information about water disputes qualify as "economic interests of the State" ?

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G.R.Vidyaranya

When states are having water sharing disputes with their neighbours, indiscriminate disclosure of sensitive information could weaken their case in courts/tribunals which will result in their losing their claim to share of water, which will in turm harm their irrigation/drinking water/other needs and thus their economy. This can cause farmer unrest which can incite widespread violence or offence.

 

8(1)(a) is quite broadbased.

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karira

That is a very far fetched argument.

 

Water for irrigation cannot be construed as water for economic purposes !

 

Providing drinking water is a basic human right.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Karira ji,

 

This was told to me by a senior Engineer in the Irrigation Dept who are continuously being targetted by politicians and farmers agitating against release of water to neighbouring states, where a dispute is pending for over a century.

 

There is a story in US too where, after the Three Mile Island incident in which there was partial meltdown of core, the Govt. was planning to ban the film "China Syndrome" which vividly explains the situation in Nuclear power plants. Depends on which one is the easier solution.

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