The Central Information Commission (CIC), in a recent order, has stated that if the information helps an accused prove his innocence, then his/her right to such an information is stronger. The CIC said such information should be given unless exempted under the RTI Act.
Central information commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu passed the order when Delhi-based applicant Lal Chand had sought some information from the department of revenue. He was accused of not passing mutation rights on some property despite an order from another officer. It was alleged that he did so because a bribe was not paid to him and a case was filed against him. He was suspended, but reinstated in his job later.
However, since the charges were not completely trashed, some benefits entitled to him were not given after his retirement. He then sought information under the RTI Act on the mutation of the land records and the inquiry.
During the hearing, the commissioner observed that “if the information sought is considered to be capable of establishing innocence of an accused in a criminal case, then that makes the right to such an information much stronger and the public authority has a duty to furnish such information to its former employee.”