When RTI came to the aid of history-sheeter

T.N. man included in list of habitual offenders seeks to know why his name was there

Published - December 02, 2019 03:11 am IST - CHENNAI

Illustration: Deepak Harichandan

Illustration: Deepak Harichandan

A history-sheeter invoked provisions under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to access information on how and why his name was included in the list of habitual offenders at the Kalambur police station in Tiruvannamalai district.

After the police refused to part with the information, the petitioner moved the Tamil Nadu Information Commission that directed the Public Information Officer/Additional Superintendent of Police to share the details except one communication that was exempted from disclosure under the Act.

The case arises out of a petition filed by E. Lakshmanan of Sevur in Tiruvannamalai district who wrote to the Public Information Officer/Additional Superintendent of Police on 03/12/2018 seeking to know under RTI the case particulars and other circumstances that led to his name being included in the dossier of history-sheeters.

He requested the public authority to share copies of the proposal of Kalambur Sub-Inspector recommending his name for inclusion in the dossier and also the views of other police officers, including the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Arani.

Aggrieved over the PIO and first appellate authority not sharing the information sought, the petitioner moved the Tamil Nadu Information Commission.

The stand of the police was that one of the details called for by the petitioner was an intelligence input that could not be shared under Section 8(1)(g)(j) of the Act. After hearing both sides in a final hearing held at the Collectorate in Tiruvannamalai, State Information Commissioner R. Dakshinamurthy directed the police to provide copies of the information called for by the petitioner except the one exempted from disclosure. The PIO was told to send the copies by registered post to the petitioner and report compliance to the Commission.

Going by Police Standing Order (PSO) 746, the police can open history sheets against suspects who commit crimes habitually. PSO 747 deals with the discontinuance or closure of such files.

The purpose of a history sheet is to mount surveillance on the suspect.

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