Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Bangalore Mirror: Bangalore: Tuesday, May 30, 2017.
That we cannot access confidential and classified information pertaining to Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation Research Centre and BSF through the powerful Right to Information Act is widely known and accepted. But it looks like the Bengaluru police is not ready to impart information on rowdy-sheeters through RTI, calling it confidential.
Interestingly, the same piece of information was earlier displayed by the police themselves in rogues gallery or notice boards to create awareness among citizens. The question is: is the information on rowdy-sheeters confidential or public?
The whole issue cropped up when Bhaskaran S, a city-based activist, filed an RTI application to get information on recommendation letters to drop/remove rowdy-sheeters from the list by politicians as done in police transfers. Some rowdy-sheeters, he said, were removed from the list, prompting him to know why it was done so. A recent case involving Nagraj alias Bomb Naga, is just one example, the activist said.
In his application on May 2 to the city police, he had sought details of individuals dropped from the rowdy-sheeters’ list in the city along with their photographs and age, including dates when they were dropped. Another piece of information he sought was the recommendation letters issued by politicians and police officers on behalf of rowdies or the so-called reformed rowdies. “To my shock, I was denied the info,” Bhaskaran said.
“The information sought can’t be provided as it is department’s confidential information,” G U Somegowda, PIO and assistant commissioner of police said while turning down the application, Bhaskaran said. “This is surprising because the information which they themselves publicised is now being dubbed confidential. The Supreme Court has ruled that even FIRs, the first step of investigation, should be shared. I believe the information is being denied because some of the politicians may get exposed,” Bhaskaran said.
This has now triggered a debate on information pertaining to rowdy-sheeters if it’s confidential or not. PIOs of Lokayukta police and High Court too had encountered similar issues in different subjects, only to lose their cases before information commission.
ACP Somegowda, however, said the decision had been taken after consulting legal experts. He said if the information was personal in nature can’t be shared.
“A person remains under trial till he is convicted. Sharing information at this stage may be questionable. Further, in some cases, persons under police scanner may have moved courts questioning opening the rowdy-sheeter clause against them. Hence there are many issues involved. It’s debatable,” an information commission official said.