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  1. [h=1]HC directs DVAC to upload its crime manual on its website[/h] The Madras High Court bench here has directed the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to upload its crime manual on its website within six weeks, rejecing DVAC's contention that it was a privileged document and could not be made public. The manual should contain details about Government instructions and guidelines to investigating officers relating to corruption cases, Justice M Sathyanarayanan said in his order said yesterday on a batch of petitions filed by some public servants who wanted to prove that the investigating officer in the corruption case against them had not followed procedures prescribed under the manual. The DVAC had refused to issue a copy of the manual to them, following which they moved the High Court. The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the DVAC could not insist on keeping the manual secret much to the disadvantage of the accused, who required it desperately to establish their innocence during the course of trial. The judge said the DVAC was not entitled to claim that it was a privileged document and could not be made public. "We are in the era of Right to Information Act and especially when the Central Bureau of Investigation itself had hosted its crime manual on its website, why can't the DVAC do the same", he asked. The State Information Commission had directed the DVAC on November 28,2011 to furnish a copy of the manual to an RTI applicant. Justice D Hariparanthaman had then dismissed the petition against the Commission's order in December 2012 and upheld the Information Commission's order. The judge pointed out that G Rajagopalan, counsel for Tamil Nadu Information Commission, had also submitted that the manual was not exempted from disclosure. Read More: HC directs DVAC to upload its crime manual on its website | Business Standard News
  2. Vigilance bodies out of RTI Act purview as reported in Express Buz Express News Service 20 Sep 2008 CHENNAI: Following a flood of applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information regarding the progress of corruption cases handled by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) and the Tamil Nadu State Vigilance Commission (TSVC), the State Government has exempted both organisations from the purview of the RTI Act. A Government Order issued in this regard recently said revealing any information to any agency, including the aggrieved person, would be detrimental to the progress of the case. Of late, there has been a tendency on the part of some citizens to ask for a lot of information under the RTI Act, the GO observed. The DVAC and the TSVC primarily deal with investigation into alleged corrupt activities of public servants. The investigations and subsequent actions culminate in disciplinary action or criminal action in the appropriate courts of law, the GO said. “Confidentiality and secrecy in certain cases requires to be maintained during the whole process from the initial stage up to filing charge-sheet in the court on the one hand and up to issue of final orders in the case of disciplinary proceedings,” the order pointed out. “The government feels that in vigilance cases giving information at the initial stages, investigation stage and even prosecution stage would lead to unnecessary embarrassment and will definitely hamper due process on investigation,” the GO added. The State government has passed orders in this regard according to sub-section (4) of Section 24 of the RTI Act. The Section states that “nothing contained in the Act shall apply to such intelligence and security organisations established by the State Government, from time to time, by notification in the official gazette”. It may be recalled that former Social Welfare Minister Poongothai had to step down from the office following the release of her telephonic conversation with the former DVAC chief SK Upadhyay, who is now under suspension. Express Buzz - Vigilance bodies out of RTI Act purview
  3. As reported vy Jeeva in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 07 March 2011: Finally, DVAC opens its RTI mouth - The Times of India Finally, DVAC opens its RTI mouth CHENNAI: The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), which has so far remained impervious to applications filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, has probably given its first reply to a query from an applicant. DVAC gave its reply to one of the 20 questions asked by G Balaji following a directive from the Tamil Nadu Information Commission. But the agency continues to maintain that it is exempted from the purview of the act, citing a Tamil Nadu government's order passed in 2008. Balaji, in his RTI application filed in October 2008, sought to know the status of a case in which a sub-inspector was caught accepting a bribe of 5,000 from him. He also listed 19 other queries, seeking information on number of persons arrested by DVAC in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, number of cases in which chargesheets were filed, total number of complaints received by it in the last ten years and phone numbers of officials with whom complaints of corruption can be lodged in these three districts. After DVAC rejected his RTI application, Balaji moved the information commission which in January this year directed the agency to respond to the application. "Since Balaji is the complainant in the case, he has full right to know the fate of the corruption case," the commission said. Following the commission's directive, DVAC sent a reply to Balaji recently disclosing that it had completed the investigation in the case filed against the sub-inspector and the case was awaiting trial before a court in the city. DVAC, however, refused to respond to the remaining 19 queries, citing the government order dated August 26, 2008. Balaji is determined to continue the battle. "I have now approached the information commission again seeking a direction to DVAC to furnish all the details I had sought,'' he told The Times of India. The government order had evoked strong reaction from RTI activists and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi himself came out with a statement within a few days of issuing the order. The chief minister then clarified that the government had not given a blanket exemption to DVAC and people can still get details from the agency under the RTI Act except those information which could impede the process of investigation or prosecution of offenders. Last year, when the commission directed it to furnish information to another RTI applicant, DVAC moved the Madras high court and obtained a stay.
  4. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 31 March 2008 CHENNAi: The Madras high court has upheld the state government's order exempting the state vigilance commission and the directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption (DVAC) from the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005. A division bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, dismissed a writ petition from P Pugazhendi, an advocate, seeking the quashing of an order dated August 26, 2008. by which the government invoked its powers under Sec 24(4) of the RTI to declare that the law shall not apply to the state vigilance commission and DVAC. Several activists working for the right to information had questioned the government's move when the order was passed, wondering what was the need for the government to remove these organisations dealing with corruption among public servants to be exempted from the RTI. The petitioner had raised several grounds to assail the exemption granted to the vigilance bodies from the law's purview. He had pointed out that the CBI had not been kept out of the RTI even though it was also dealing with corruption cases pertaining to public servants under the Central government. He also argued that the state government's exercise of its power to exempt the DVAC amounted to destroying the ideal of transparency in public administration. However, the bench rejected these arguments. Referring to the point about the CBI, the court said the sub-sections of the Act concerning the central and state governments' power to exempt organisations involved in intelligence and security were separate provisions, and there was no need for one to be mixed up with the other. On the point about erosion of transparency, the bench noted that the preamble to the legislation permitted "preservation of confidentiality" about sensitive information. The bench noted that the order had itself mentioned that these organisations primarily dealt with investigation into alleged corrupt activities of public servants. "It is stated that confidentiality and secrecy in certain cases are required to be maintained right from initial state up to the filing of chargesheet (in cases that lead to criminal proceedings) and up to the final order in disciplinary proceedings. The bench agreed with the government's contention that giving information relating to such proceedings would "lead to unnecessary embarrassment and definitely hamper due process". "In our view, the state has given sufficient reasons as to why it was exercising powers under Sec 24(4)," the bench said, and dismissed the petition. Source: HC upholds exclusion of vigilance commission - Chennai - Cities - The Times of India
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