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Akhila Kovvuri

Criminal charges against politicos.....

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Akhila Kovvuri

Under RTI, do we have the right to ask for a record of criminal charges against our representatives?Is it likely that we are going to get the right information for such a query?

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prasad.dhirendra

Yes you may ask your qustion throuh RTI FROM dIRECTOR OF pROSECUTION of your statw/District Prosecuting officer of your District or Office of the DM.

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karira

This information has to be submitted by a candidate (on affidavit) to the Election Commission at the time of filing his nomination.

 

Some of this information is available on the Chief Election officer (of your state) website

Just check the Election Commission website also.

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      DECISION:
       
      The CPIOs and AAs have declined to furnish the information applying the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the Act which reads:
       
       
      According to the appellant, relying on Cr.PC, the term “investigation” would mean criminal investigation which may result in apprehension or prosecution of offenders and since the CBI has given a clean chit to the appellant, no criminal investigation is pending and departmental proceedings cannot be considered to be investigation to deny documents sought for by him applying the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the Act.
       
      It is true that the term “investigation” has not been defined in the RTI Act. When a statute does not define a term, it is permissible to adopt the definition given in some other statute. If different definitions are given in different statutes for a particular term, then the one which could be more relevantly adoptable should be adopted taking into account the object and purpose of the Statute in which the definition is not available. It is not necessary to confine oneself to only one definition as propounded by the appellant.
       
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      One cannot interpret the provisions of a statute according to his own convenience. Be that as it may, as far as the present case is concerned, considering the fact that the appellant is a government servant, the term “investigation” in Section 8(1)(h) has to be interpreted in terms of the Vigilance Manual.
       
      I am extracting certain portions of Chapter 4 of the Manual, (2005 Edition) from which it could be seen that the terms “investigation” and “enquiry” have been used analogously, to indicate that investigation need not necessarily mean criminal investigation.
       
       
       
      From the above extract, it can be seen that the term “investigation” in respect of government officials could mean both investigation by the CBI, which could be termed as criminal investigation as well as investigation by the Department.
       
      Therefore, I do not find any force in the contention of the appellant that “investigation” means only criminal investigation. In this connection, I may refer to the Division Bench decision of this Commission in Shri Gobind Jha Vs Army Hqrs. (CIC/80/2006/ 00039 dated 1.6.2006).
       
      In that case, the appellant sought for various information including a copy of the report of investigation carried out on the basis of his complaint. The CPIO and AA declined to furnish a copy of the report applying the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the Act. Examining the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the Act, the Division Bench observed -
       
      Thus, from this decision, it is apparent that this Commission has not viewed the term ‘investigation’ as used in Section 8(1)(h) to apply exclusively to criminal investigation as propounded by the appellant in the present case.
      Therefore, the contention of the appellant that only when criminal investigation is pending, the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) could be applied, has to fail.
       
      The second limb of the contention of the appellant is that the Department is incompetent to initiate disciplinary proceeding after withdrawal of the SLP. As far as this contention is concerned, I would like to make it abundantly clear that it is not only beyond the scope of the proceedings before the Commission to examine whether the Department is competent to take disciplinary action or not but it is also beyond its jurisdiction. Therefore, when the Department has stated that three disciplinary proceedings are pending against the appellant, my examination will be restricted only to decide whether, the information sought by the appellant could be denied on the ground that investigation is pending. According to the Department, on the basis of the advice of the CVC, the matter is pending with the Department of Personnel. Any disciplinary process till such time a charge sheet is issued or the case is closed, has to be treated as a matter under enquiry/investigation, to be covered under Section 8(1)(h). In Shri D.L.Chandhok Vs. Central Wharehousing Corporation (Appeal No.121/ICPP/ 2006 dated 9.10.06), this Commission has held that -
       
       
      In the present case, it is evident from the applications of the appellant themselves that he has sought copies of various documents connected with disciplinary/other proceedings against him. Therefore, I am of the view that the CPIOs and AAs have correctly applied the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) to decline to provide copies of the documents sought for by the appellant.
      Before parting with the decision, I may also point out that the stand of the CPIO, FCI in his comments that the provisions of Section 11 are attracted in furnishing correspondence with other agencies is not correct. Section 11 would be attracted only when information relating to a third parry is sought for disclosure and not when the correspondence relates to the applicant himself.
       
      In view of my finding that the CPIOs have correctly applied the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the Act in declining to furnish copies of the documents sought for by the appellant, the appeals stand dismissed.
       
       
      The case was decided by Mrs. Padma Balasubramanian, Information Commissioner on 27th December 2006.

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