No public access to 2G documents till JPC completes probe: CIC

Documents related to 2G spectrum allocation cannot be accessed by public till the Joint Parliamentary Committee completes its probe and submits its report, the Central Information Commission has held.

The JPC which is probing the high profile scam, in which the then Telecom Minister A. Raja is the main accused, has directed the Finance Ministry not to reveal any information till it completes the probe.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by Vikas Saluja who sought from the Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry the details of meetings between Raja and then Finance Minister with respect to 2G spectrum allocation.

Mr. Saluja had asked from the Ministry the dates of meeting between the two and agenda and minutes of these meetings but the department did not provide them to him.

The department told Mr. Saluja that documents have been provided to JPC and cannot be disclosed as doing it would be violation of Parliamentary privileges.

Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act exempts disclosure of information which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature.

When the matter reached the CIC, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra concurred with the view of the Central Public Information Officer of the department.

“We have considered the case on merits. We do not find anything wrong in the response of the CPIO.

“The desired information has been specifically prohibited by the Joint Parliamentary Committee from disclosure.

“Therefore, disclosure of such information would lead to the breach of privilege the Parliament, a sufficient ground for not disclosing the information under the provisions of subsection 1(c) of section 8 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” Mr. Mishra said.

He asked Mr. Saluja to wait till the JPC submits its report to Parliament and apply for the same information again.

The 2G spectrum scam involves charges of last moment tweaking of date of allocation of spectrum and other irregularities allegedly committed by Raja in collusion with Telecom Ministry officials and executives of beneficiaries telecom companies in 2008.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:59:39 PM |

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