Delhi High Court: In a petition filed by the Petitioner, Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddique, a convict in the 11-07-2006 Mumbai Train Blast case seeking quashing of the impugned order dated 31-07-2019 passed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) wherein the prayer to provide him a true copy of the report/ dossier etc. submitted by Maharashtra Government regarding the investigation of 7/ 11 bomb blast case in the year 2006 and by the Andhra Pradesh Government in the year 2009 has been rejected, Prathiba M Singh, J., upheld the rejection order and held that the reports and dossiers by intelligence authorities relating to terrorist activities, which are subject matter of investigation are barred and thus, cannot be disclosed under RTI especially, if they compromise the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
The Petitioner is in judicial custody after being convicted in the 2006 Mumbai Train Blast case and sentenced to death by the Special Judge, under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MACOCA), 1999 and National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, Special Court, Mumbai. The Petitioner filed RTI application seeking the aforementioned documents which were rejected by the CPIO, Ministry of Home Affairs (Internal Security Division-I) by invoking Section 8(1)(a) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The Court noted that that terrorist activities affect the integrity of India as also the safety and security of its citizens. The fact that one investigation qua a particular individual may have been concluded would not in any manner mean that all the investigations have concluded finally.
Thus, the Court held that reports and dossiers by intelligence authorities relating to terrorist activities, which are subject matter of investigation are barred and thus, cannot be disclosed under RTI especially, if they compromise the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
[Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui v CPIO, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 641, decided on 03-02-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr Arpit Bhargava, Ms Hina Bhargava and Mr. Pankaj, Advocates for the Petitioner;
Mr. Rahul Sharma, Central Govt. Counsel with Mr. C.K. and Mr. Ayush Bhatt, Advocate for the Respondent.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.