Cuttack: Hearing three writ petitions, the Orissa High Court today quashed the Odisha government’s notification keeping the State Vigilance department out of the purview of the RTI Act.
Orissa High Court Chief Justice S. Muralidhar passed an order stating that the General Administration (Vigilance) department cannot refuse to divulge information pertaining to corruption and human rights violations, which information is expressly not protected from disclosure by virtue of the first provision to Section 24 (4) of the RTI Act.
It is worth to mention that the Information and Public Relations department of the Odisha Government issued the notification in question on August 11, 2016.
Justice Muralidhar further stated, in the order, information that does not touch upon any of the sensitive and confidential activities undertaken by the Vigilance Department cannot be withheld.
The court also issued a declaratory writ mentioning that the impugned notification will not permit the State Government to deny information pertaining to the Vigilance Department involving allegations of corruption and human rights violations, and other information that does not touch upon any of the sensitive and confidential activities undertaken by the department.
It directed the Odisha Government to issue another notification clarifying on the matter within four weeks.
Petitioners Subash Mohapatra, Sudhanshu Kumar Nanda and Pradip Kumar Pradhan filed writ petition in 2016 separately.
In their petitions, they mentioned the Odisha Government’s notification on the Vigilance department violates the Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India which guarantees to all Indian citizens the fundamental right to information.