Ministry of Home Affairs directed to disclose information on security clearance of a senior Jet Airways official

Central Information Commission (CIC): While observing that disclosure of information regarding security clearance of a person who is working as a senior functionary in the aviation sector would serve larger public interest, CIC directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to reveal security clearances relating to a senior Jet Airways official.

The order of the Commission was pronounced while hearing an appeal filed by an RTI activist alleging that a national of Bahrain has been working on a senior position of Jet Airways for more than seven years without any security clearance. Hence, he filed an RTI before Ministry of Home Affairs seeking to know if security clearance was given to the said official or not and if yes, then if proper procedure for obtaining security clearance for the official was followed or not. Ministry of Home Affairs refused to disclose information citing Section 8 (1) (g) and 24 of RTI Act that intelligence agencies which grant security clearance are exempted from the RTI Act and security clearance of entities or individuals in sensitive sectors of the economy can also affect the interest of the country. CIC rejected the objections of Ministry of Home Affairs and noted, “…..the information sought, if disclosed, would serve larger public interest since it relates to the issue of security clearance of a person who is working as a senior functionary in the aviation sector and not following proper procedures while granting security clearance to such persons could pose a grave threat to the security and safety of passengers, who travel by air.” While concluding the judgment CIC directed the disclosure of the information sought, within four weeks. [Rajneesh Kapur v. Ministry of Home Affairs, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 15696, decided on November 21, 2016]

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