Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update on DVAC and TSVC exemption

Court dismisses petition against government order

HC upholds exclusion of vigilance commission

The Madras HC has dismissed a petition filed by a lawyer, which sought quashing of the GO of TN Govt exempting DVAC and TSVC from the Right to Information act. First of all, this is not the case that Catalyst trust, CAG, Anti Corruption movement and other organisations have together filed. This case by the groups has been clubbed with another case filed by Mr.Sethu since both are challenging the same GO. So it is surprising why this case filed by the lawyer alone has not been clubbed and taken separately.

From the news report, it seems the case was not well argued. The only point raised seems to have been that when CBI was not exempt, how can DVAC be exempt. That is not really a good argument. The High court has replied that CBI is a central govt organisation and comes under a different section and so cant be used here. The other argument given by the lawyer was that the exemption is against the spirit of the act. Even this was rejected stating that the government has given clear explanation as to why they were exempting these organisations.

The correct way to argue, in my opinion, would have been that section 8(1)(j) already provides sufficient protection for information which will affect the investigation, and hence this blanket exemption is not necessary. Moreover, the proviso in section 24(4) insists that in any case information related to human rights and corruption ought to be given even if the organisation is exempt. These were the two points that could have helped the case. These points do not seem to have been raised. Anyway, my knowledge about the case is restricted to only the newsreports in The Hindu and the Times of India, and so I need to wait till the High Court order comes.

Now that this case has been dismissed, I wonder what will happen to the other two cases. I hope they are also given due consideration since they argue with a different set of points.

Here is a scanned copy of the High Court Judgment.

See also:
The Govt's lie about DVAC and TSVC Exemption
DVAC and TSVC Exempted from the RTI act

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