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Supreme Court: Vested interest behind RTI leads to blackmail, extortion

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New Delhi, Dec 16, 2019-

The Supreme Court Monday flagged “fear” and “abuse of RTI Act” by vested interests and potentially leading to blackmail and extortion. The apex court sought to know if any guidelines can be evolved to address this grave matter.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and comprising Justices B. R. Gavai and Surya Kant has also asked the Centre to fill up all vacancies in the Central Information Commission within three months. The top court also directed that the Centre to publish the names of the members of the Search Committee to be put up on the website in two weeks, after it was told that the Committee was constituted on December 14.

The Chief Justice said the people who are in no way connected to an issue file RTI, and this potentially sometimes leads to criminal intimidation, which is a nice word for blackmail. “We are not against the right to information. But there is need for guidelines. It cannot be an unbridled right”, said the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice said there may be innumerable cases of blackmail and extortion, and if there is a cognizable offence and the people concerned should file a complaint with the anti-corruption bureau.

“Why every member should get information, for example if someone needs an axe to grind against an officer …. We are asking methods to stop abuse of RTI, why do you think it happens”, queried the Chief Justice to advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for the petitioner seeking transparency in the appointment of information commissioners.

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