Gujarat home department refused information on remission panel, says RTI activist

Times of India | 3 days ago | 24-09-2022 | 06:10 am

Gujarat home department refused information on remission panel, says RTI activist

AHMEDABAD: In the wake of remission of sentences of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case during the 2002 riots, a city-based RTI applicant sought information from the state home department on the details of the remission committee and its meetings in the past five years. The state home department, however, refused to divulge the details, saying that the information sought by the applicant was not within the ambit of the RTI Act. Pankti Jog, an RTI activist from the Jivraj Park area of the city, filed an RTI plea on August 20 before the state government, seeking information on the remission committee. The applicant demanded certified copies of the terms of reference for the remission committee formed by the Gujarat government for considering names of convicted persons in jails in the past five years. Jog also demanded certified copies of minutes of all the meetings held in the past five years of the remission committee and the names of the persons who were recommended for release in the five years along with the details and the reasons given for release of the jail inmates. "Please provide certified copies of the noting of the file along with criteria for selection of members of the remission committee for release of the jail inmates on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Independence," mentions the RTI plea. The home department in its reply states, "The information sought through the RTI plea does not come under the definition of the RTI according to the section 2(f) of the RTI Act 2005. Along with that, the information cannot be divulged according to a memorandum of the department of personnel and training dated June 1, 2009." The section 2(f) of the RTI act reads, "information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force." Jog said, "Denial given by the department is totally illegal and it is a violation of the RTI Act. This is a clear case of delay tactic so that they can escape from giving the RTI response". The information was sought after the state government on August 15 released 11 convicts of gang rape and murder of Bilkis Bano family during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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