गुरुवार, 6 नवंबर 2008

Batla House's encouter and RTI (Part-2nd.)


On 12th October 2005 we got the RTI. RTI is one of the most powerful acts bestowed upon the people of India by the government. It can be used to assert an individual’s democratic rights in knowing information about the government institutions’ workings and procedures. But even after three years of it’s implementation this Act has been avoided by the government institutions in giving out informations to the ordinary citizens in one way or the other. On 19th September this year, took place the Batla House encounter which sent shockwaves across the common people of India. Not only the Muslim community felt insecure, but a lot of questions were raised on the ethics of encounters in this country. In this connection we filed for an RTI regarding some information from various government institutions regarding this encounter. We sent separate petitions to AIIMS, NHRC, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court of India in this regard. AIIMS refused to give us information on account of sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h while the information we got from the NHRC is also not complete. Now after 40 days of filing the RTI petition, we finally got the reply from the Supreme Court and Delhi Police. We are happy that they have responded to our query. But the saddest part here is that even an institution like the Supreme Court has given us only incomplete information.
With respect to the Delhi Police, we had asked as to how many people were killed in the Batla House Encounter? We had also asked for details of the post mortem of the deceased in the encounter. Also we had asked if any FIR had been registered in this connection. And if yes then we had also asked for a photocopy of the same. Regarding the first query, the Delhi Police stated that 3 persons were killed (2 militants and 1 police officer). Regarding the second query, we were told that the case is still pending. We were further told that the disclosure of information may impede the process of investigation, hence no information /documents at this stage can be provided as the same is exempted under sections 8(1)h of RTI. And as regards to the last query, they said that an FIR was registered and it’s photocopy can be obtained as per the provisions of section 154 Cr. P. C. it is to be mentioned here that we had asked six questions in total to which the Delhi Police cared to give answers to only three.
With regard to the Supreme Court of India, we had asked as to how many cases had been filed against people or organizations in connection to terrorist activities from 28th January 1950 onwards. We had also asked for details regarding these cases. We also asked as to what punishments were given to the convicts in this connection. We had also asked if there had been any such case where the Police could not provide any concrete evidence against the accused. And we had also asked if there exists any provision under which the police or the government can be tried for wasting the Court’s valuable time in the absence of any concrete evidence. The reply which we got fell short of our expectations. Regarding the first query, the Supreme Court stated that cases against terrorists and extremists are not directly filed or instituted in the Supreme Court of India and only appeals against the decisions of the High Courts are instituted in this Hon’ble Court. Therefore the information relating thereto is not available. Regarding the second and third queries, the judgement/orders of the Supreme Court are reported in Law Journals and are also available on Supreme Court websites viz. http://www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in/ and can be downloaded therefrom. And regarding the fourth and fifth queries, they stated that it is beyond the jurisdiction and scope of the duties of the CPIO, Supreme Court of India under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to interpret the law, judgments of this Hon’ble Court or of any other Court, comment, opine or advise on matters.
It is really sad that such esteemed institutions of the nation give such a deaf ear to the power of the RTI. Then really one is forced to think on the authenticity of this Act. Even recently our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had talked so much about the judicious use of the RTI that we can only hope that someday our efforts will bear fruits.


0 टिप्पणियाँ: