Thursday, October 02, 2008

DVAC and TSVC Exempted from the RTI act

Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) and Tamil Nadu State Vigilance Commission (TSVC), have been brought out of the purview of the Right to Information act. The link for the news item can be seen at the end of this mail. The govt has passed a GO in this regard too (attached).

This GO clearly states that this has been done because "in vigilance cases, giving information at the initial stages, investigation stages and even prosecution stages would lead to unnecessary embarrassment and will definitely hamper due process on investigation". This is a pretty strange reason to give exemption because section 8(h) anyway provides exemption to information whose disclosure would hamper investigation. Also, "Unnecessary embarrassment" cannot be a reason for exemption since with RTI embarrassment is bound to happen in almost every Public Authority.

But the fact that both these organisations have been given blanket exemptions means, we cannot get any information from DVAC and TSVC. This makes the government's motives suspect. It seems to be only a ploy to protect people who are being investigated by DVAC, as this will prevent us, the public, from asking details on follow-up or action taken on cases they are investigating, finding out causes of pressure from vested interests etc.

Moreover, allowing such exemptions to be added, unquestioned, would only make the government bolder to add further exemptions.

The G.O can be viewed at

I am talking to other organisations like Catalyst Trust, CAG and 5th Pillar to see what can be done about this. Though some orgns want to fight this legally, I feel we dont have a strong enough case and losing the case would be disastrous since, then it would seem that the high court has upheld the stand of the govt. In my opinion all the orgns should get together and talk to the P&AR secretary and try to convince him. If that does not work we need to get down to the streets. Here again there is a long struggle and more will come on this.

Here are some media links to the exemption.

Vigilance bodies out of RTI Act purview

Taking DVAC out of RTI purview evokes protests

Govt defends exclusion of DVAC from RTI purview

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