Mere pendency of investigation / enquiry is not sufficient justification by itself for withholding the information. It must be shown by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) that the disclosure of the information would ‘impede’ or even on a lesser threshold ‘hamper’ or ‘interfere’ with the enquiry.
The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in its decision dated 03/12/2007 [WP(C) 3114/2007, Bhagat Singh Vs. CIC & Anrs] has held as under:-
“13. Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right itself. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation or the prosecution of the offenders.
It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) and other such provisions would become a haven for dodging demands for information.”
Information cannot be denied on mere pendency of investigation
The case citation can be read here: Mr. Y. N. Chaubey Vs M/o Labour & Employment