‘Safety, security of country cannot be compromised’
Upholds decision of Distt Police Headquarters Srinagar
JAMMU, July 3: In an important decision, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that Daily Police Diary is a secret document and cannot be disclosed under the Right to Information Act as making public several important entries in it may hamper the safety and security of the country. Accordingly, the Commission has upheld the decision taken by the District Police Headquarters Srinagar.
The case before the Central Information Commission was that District Police Headquarters Srinagar refused to provide copy of Police Diary (Roznamcha) of Police Station Sheedgung Srinagar by wrongly applying Section 8(1)(g) of the Right to Information Act.
It was submitted before the Commission by the appellant that the Police Rules of J&K Police Manual casts no bar on the issuance of a Daily Diary (Roznamcha) duly attested as per Rules 517 and 518. In addition, the appellant stated that as per the Police Rules, the Daily Diary (Roznamcha) is not a privileged document/ secret document/ war book which cannot be provided to him and that there should be some basis for invoking Section 8 (1) (g) and it cannot be claimed on the ground of mere apprehension.
However, the respondent—(J&K Police) submitted that information contained in the Daily Diary for the period mentioned in the RTI application was sensitive in nature and can adversely affect the security of the nation as details of search operations are also recorded in the Daily Diary.
The Police stated that information related to FIRs can be separately acquired under the RTI Act since it is a public document, adding “most of the entries mentioned in the Daily Diary register pertained to movement of police personnel, security agencies, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and detenues hence Section 8 (1) (g) was correctly claimed”.
On perusal of the available records and in the light of the facts of the case, Chief Information Commissioner Y K Sinha observed that the thrust of the argument of the appellant is that the Daily Diary records should be disclosed as per Rules 517 and 518 of the J&K Police Manual. “However, on perusal of Rules 514 to 518 of the Rules, it is evident that the Rules mandate creation of Station Diary registers, manner in which entries are required to be made, officers responsible, etc. Nowhere do the Rules prescribe public disclosure of entries”, he added.
Stating that legal position regarding non disclosure of entries in Daily Diary/ Roznamcha has been settled by the Apex Court in the matter of Balaram Versus State of Uttarakhand Criminal Appeal No. 694 of 2017, the Commission said, “in this judgment the Supreme Court has held that the Police Diary is only a record of day to day investigation made by the investigating officer. Neither the accused nor his agent is entitled to call for such case diary and also are not entitled to see them during the course of inquiry or trial”.
The unfettered power conferred by the Statute under Section 172 (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure on the court to examine the entries of the Police Diary would not allow the accused to claim similar unfettered right to inspect the case diary, the Apex Court has mentioned in the judgment.
“Thus, even the accused does not have any right to seek a copy of the case diary unless the trial is concluded. Admittedly, the present case is different since the appellant is neither the accused nor has he claimed to be an agent of any accused. But the decisions of the High Court of Delhi and the Apex Court cited by the appellant pertained to different facts and circumstances and cannot be equated with the present case”, the Chief Information Commissioner said.
Stating that Daily Police Diary is a secret document and cannot be disclosed under the Right to Information Act as making public several important entries in it may hamper the safety and security of the country, the Commission found merit in the argument of the respondent regarding non disclosure of information since entries mentioned in the Daily Diary register may pertain to movement of police personnel, security agencies, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and detenues which may hamper the safety and security of the country.
“Hence, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the instant Second Appeal which is disposed off accordingly”, read the order, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.