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FIR is a Public Document – CIC

Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2009/00462 & 00476 dated 31-3-2009 & 8-4-2009

Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19
Appellant: Ms. Inder Kaur
Respondent: Deputy Commissioner (DCP) Vigilance
Deputy Commissioner (DCP) Economic Offences Wing

By two applications of 19-12-2008 Smt. Inder Kaur of New Friends Colony, New Delhi applied to the DCPs Vigilance and South Distt seeking the following information:
“1. What is the residential address of the complainant i.e. Ms. Gurbachan Kaur Narang (a) according to her (b) according to the police.
2. What is the residential address of the accused (a) according to the complaint (b) according to the police?
3. Where was the complainant husband used to work (according to the complaint statement (b) according to the police?
4. Where does the accused Kulwant Singh Narang work before & after the death of the complainant’s husband (a) according to the complaint statement (b) According to the investigation?
5. Is it true or false that Kulwant Singh Narang & Lt S. R. Narang used to work at one place together (a) according to the complaint (b) According to the Police statement?
6. The business that was carried out of 7090/10, Rameshwari Nehru Nagar, Karol Bagh was looked after by who all (a) according to the complaint statement.
7. How long has the complaint been staying at her present residential address (a) according to the complaint statement (b) according to the police?
8. How long has the accused been staying at D-850, New Friends Colony (a) according to the complaint statement (b) according to the Police?
9. the business that was carried out by the family was a joint business or single person business (A) according to the complaint statement.

Besides this Sir, I would also request you to kindly provide me a copy of the complaint & a copy of the detailed statement of the complainant i.e. Gurbachan Kaur Narang & also allow me the inspection of the complaint file.”
Appellant Ms Inder Kaur’s dissatisfaction with the disposal of these cases by the two Public Authorities of the Delhi Police has brought the subject before us in two second appeals in File Nos. CIC/WB/A/2009/00462 and CIC/WB/A/2009/00476.

In this case DCP (Vigilance) through his response of 13.1.2009 has refused the information as follows:-

This information cannot be provided to you as per section 8 (1) (e) of RTI Act, as the complainant has furnished information/ document in this office in the fiduciary capacity.

This information is not available in this office.
On this basis Ms. Inder Kaur moved an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Addl. Commissioner of Police (Vigilance), Delhi pleading, “There is no mention about my request for complaint copy and complainant statement, inspection of complaint file.’
Upon this Shri R. P. Upadhyaya, Appellate Authority (Vigilance) in his order of 12.3.2009 has directed as follows:-
“It is seen that PIO/Vig. Has rightly denied the information asked for by you in your application under the provisions of section 8 (1) (e) of the RTI Act, 2005. the copy of the complaint of the complainant and her statement recorded during the Vigilance enquiry as well as your request for inspection of the file have also been denied under the provisions of the same section of the RTI Act. Three are no fresh grounds in the present appeal to interfere with the orders of PIO/Vig. In this regard. It is also seen that the PIO/Vig. Had replied to the appellant vide letter dated 13.1.2009. Your rationale behind the claim that the reply by the PIO has been late and request for action against him for this is not clear.”
Appellant’s prayer in his second appeal before us is as follows:-

“Considering the above facts of my 2nd appeal, Hon’ble CIC be pleased to pass necessary orders to UPSC (sic) to immediately furnish me the information that has been deliberately and malafidely denied to me and impose such suitable penalties on the concerned for having acted malafidely in withholding information that should have been immediately furnished to me under RTI Act, 2005.”
Appellant Ms. Inder Kaur further argued as follows:
“4. Since this is a complaint and this can be made into an FIR, so every court has given various directions that a copy of the complaint and statement of the complainant should be provided to the accused.
5. Section 8 (1) (e) cannot apply to police complaints (now even the enquiry is also over).”

In this case the matter was transferred to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police on 3.12.’08 where it was received on 2.1.’09. To this Ms Inder Kaur was given a response on 28.1.2009 refusing the information under sub-section (g) & (h) of Section 8 (1). However not having received this response Ms. Inder Kaur has moved her first appeal on 20.2.2009, upon which Shri Vivek Gogia, Addl. Commissioner of police (EOW) in his order of 24.3.2009 has along with attaching the copy of the response received from PIO has also addressed the issue of release of information sought by Ms. Inder Kaur, upholding the decision of the PIO as follows:-
“I agree with the APIO as the information asked for is important evidence and its disclosure may endanger the life and personal safety of the persons concerned. Hence, it is exempted from disclosure.”
Appellant’s prayer before us in her second appeal is as follows:-
“Considering the above facts of my 2nd appeal, Hon’ble CIC be pleased to pass necessary orders to UPSC (sic) to immediately furnish me the information that has been deliberately and malafidely denied to me and impose such suitable penalties on the concerned for having acted malafidely in withholding information that should have been immediately furnished to me under RTI Act, 2005.”
In this case appellant Ms. Inder Kaur has also argued as follows:-
“Section 8 (1) (g) cannot apply to FIR now since the enquiry is also almost over.”

The appeals were clubbed and heard together on 13-5-2009. The following are present:-
Ms. Inder Kaur .
Shri Jasbir Singh, assisting appellant.
Mr. B.L. Gautam, ACP
Mr. Vinod Singh, H/C
Mr. T.P. Singh, ACP/ EOW
Inspector Rajender Prasad, EOW
SI, M.K. Mishra, EOW
We have received a request from the DCP (Vigilance) Delhi seeking exemption from attendance, which has been accepted. His request has been placed on record.
Shri Jasbir Singh assisting appellant Ms. Inder Kaur submitted that the investigation with respect to PS Kotla Mubarak Pur was over, and this has also been acknowledged in an affidavit submitted to the Court in “State vs. Kulwant Singh”, FIR No. 544/05 of 6.6.2008 stating as follows:-
“IO further states that except for depositing the aforesaid affidavit with FSL for comparison of signature appearing thereupon, nothing further remains qua investigation.”
This was, however, contested by Shri T. P. Singh, ACP (EOW) who submitted that although indeed the PS Kotla Mubarakpur has concluded its investigation, this investigation is still in progress in the EOW through Crime Branch of the Delhi Police and, therefore, cannot be said to be concluded. Disclosure of the information sought by appellant Ms. Inder Kaur would impede the process of investigation by opening the complainant and others concerned to pressure from appellants. He also submitted that the FSL report is still awaited and pre-mature disclosure of the information sought would also impede the processing of the FSL report.
Young Shri Jasbir Singh on the other hand has pleaded that complainant in this case Smt. Gurbachan Kaur is his aunt who resides with appellant Ms. Inder Kaur. These details are all known but appellant seeks the

information recorded by complainant in her complaint in order to contest it in the court when the matter comes before the latter.
Accordingly, we asked to see and were shown the complaint of Ms. Gurbachan Kaur wherein she has complained of criminal liability of Shri Kulwant Singh and his family in cheating her of her rights in certain properties that are identified therein. The stand taken by respondents is that under the Cr. P.C. a copy of complaint cannot be given to any party other than the complainant.
The key issue before us in this case is the release of the copy of the complaint together with the statement of the complainant recorded before the PS Kotla Mubarakpur. In Prashant Bhushan vs. Deputy Commissioner Police (DCP), Crime & Railways1, on the issue of disclosure of FIRs to the accused it had been similarly argued before us on 24.2.’09 that the FIR on the encounter at Batla House, Delhi of 19.9.08 cannot be provided since the Cr.P.C. mandates the provision of providing a copy of the FIR only to the complainant or the accused. However, on being questioned whether the law debarred providing a copy of the FIR to a person other than the complainant or the accused, respondent Sh. Satyendra Garg, Addl. CP referring to Sec 154 (2) conceded that there was no such bar. The FIR is a public document and an accused is entitled to have its certified copy. As held in Jayat Bhai Lalu Bhai Patel vs. State of Gujarat, 1992 Cr LJ 2377 (Guj), the denial of a copy will be against the principles of natural justice and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution
From the above it will be clear that a copy of the FIR indeed cannot be denied to a party to the case although under Sec 154 (2) of the Cr. P.C. a complainant himself/herself receives this free of cost. Insofar as the copy of the recorded statement of complainant is concerned this could be construed
1 Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2009/0023 announced 9.3.’09 5
as compromising security u/s 8 (1) (g) and therefore, exempt from disclosure at this stage with the investigation still proceeding, in case the statements were to be changed under any pressure it would undoubtedly impede the investigation and subsequent prosecution. However, in so far as the complaint itself is concerned this information is eminently disclosable under the RTI Act read with Cr. P.C. CPIO, Vigilance together with CPIO, EOW will supply a copy each of the complaint held by them to appellant Ms. Inder Kaur within 10 working days of the date of receipt of this decision notice. Both appeals are therefore allowed in part. There will be no costs.
Reserved in the hearing, this Decision is announced in open chamber on this fourteenth day of May, 2009. Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties.
(Wajahat Habibullah)
Chief Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the charges prescribed under the Act to the CPIO of this Commission.
(Pankaj K.P. Shreyaskar)
Joint Registrar


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