Section 8 (1) (h) of the Right to Information Act - 2005 prohibits revelation
of such kind of data, which would impede the process of investigation or hinder
the police from apprehending or prosecuting a criminal.
Section 8(1) (h) of the Right to Information Act - 2005 states that there must
be no disclosure of information that may hinder investigation of a case or
arrest and prosecution of the offender. This provision is aimed at balancing
transparency through the right to information against the necessity to ensure
efficiency in an investigation.
The public authority may be allowed not to provide the information in order to
avoid interference with the investigation and apprehension as well as
prosecution of the criminals. For example, it is necessary at investigation
stage not to disclose such information that will help suspects' becoming aware
about their probable arrest and cause them to destroy the evidence or elude the
Nevertheless, it should be noted here that Section 8(1)(h) exemptions are not
full and without limitation. The aforementioned issues will also involve public
interest test that evaluates the need to uncover specific details that safeguard
investigations and facilitate convictions.
However, in each such submission made under Section 8(1)(h), every matter
contained therein is addressed on a separate and distinct basis. Each matter or
piece of information within RTI request should be assessed individually, and the
decision to withhold made on the basis of a case-by-case basis evaluation,
ensuring that the application of the exemption is tailored, transparent, and
subject to accountability and review.
When challenged in Court against non-disclosure of such information under
Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act - 2005, this information can be communicated to
the Court that will determine if it could adversely affect investigations or
prosecutions, and in such circumstances, whether the benefits are worthwhile
regarding revealing this piece of information.
A Case Diary, is an elaborate chronicle kept by the investigating/police officer
or a person in charge of an individual case having a detailed report about the
process, such as actions undertaken, evidence acquired, records collected, line
of investigation, name of suspects, name of witnesses etc.
Generally speaking, it is not possible to supply a copy of the Case Diary to an
applicant under RTI Act in most cases. Section 8 (1) (h) of RTI Act prohibits
the disclosure of information which may hinder the investigation, apprehension
and prosecution of suspects. This provision covers the Case Diary which cannot
be divulged for it might endanger investigation, divulge confidential material
and eventually cause a damage to the case.
The Case Diary documents are basically internal and only used for the purposes
of improving the investigation process by making it unbiased and maintaining the
rights of the accused. This type of information might not be fit for public
consumption until the investigations are completed or at least until the end of
The copy of Case Diary should not therefore be provided to the applicant under
Right to Information Act-2005 because it may impede the process of investigation
or apprehension and prosecution of the offenders.
Notwithstanding, RTI Act allows exemptions, an information can be sought for
larger public interest. In limited circumstances, the applicants may have a
right of access to information contained in the Case Diary if they are able to
provide a cogent public interest which would outweigh the prejudice to the
interests of the investigation. For such instances, it will be a local
administration or the Public Information Officer (PIO) that will make a decision
to disclose relevant facts taking into consideration peculiar situations of a
case and its fairness.
General Diary/Station House Diary
General Diary, popularly known as Station House Diary, is a record which records
daily happenings in Police Stations. In standard practice, usually copies from
the General Diary are given to the person who gave information or complained. In
some cases, a copy of the complaint or information is given to the informant or
complainant after noting the General Diary number with date thereupon.
A General Diary records every information that someone lodges at a police
station. The record helps to indicate that the information/complaints were
indeed recorded down by the Police Station for reference purposes. However, it
is normally at the discretion of the reporting officer for one to get a copy of
the entry in the General Diary, if the same is sensitive or relates to an
Giving a copy of the General Diary entry to the complainants helps them make
copies and be transparent about their dealings with the other party.
Additionally, it aids in creating an audit trail that is useful in preserving
accountability and may prove beneficial for future records of reference purposes
or even in courts in case of need.
Nevertheless, the police should not disclose some of the details of the General
Diary if the investigations are still on-going or based on other legal
considerations. The police may, therefore, issue out a redacted or partial
version of the entry excluding any details that can be seen as confidential and
sensitive or inimical to the interest of investigation.
If supplying a copy of the General Diary or Station House Diary might hamper the
investigations of a case including apprehending and/or prosecution of offenders,
then the same cannot be issued under Section 8 (1) (h) of RTI Act - 2005 to the
However, it should be noted that there are some exceptions under the RTI Act -
2005 and one may still seek for information in the larger public interest as
well. The applicant can obtain information from General or Station House Diary
in case there is a convincing public interest, which outweighs harm to the
ongoing investigation. In such instances, a relevant authority shall come up
with informed decision depending on the factuality of the matter at hand.
Whether the information made available under RTI Act - 2005 could be used as
evidence in Court?
In the occasion that any citizen wishes to utilise the document provided by the
PIO (Public Information Officer) for any civil or criminal proceedings pending
in Court; they are required to follow the procedures used to obtain certified
copies through court process and not by filing application under the Right to
Information Act - 2005.
The whole intention behind the Right to Information Act - 2005 is to place at
the disposal of the people all information which the government has with him; so
that he can develop himself as a truly enlightened citizen rather than to arm
him against his opponent in any dispute.
A Public Information Officer simply gives the applicant a copy of the records.
This may be a true copy, and yet such a record might be an unauthenticated copy
or one that cannot stand guaranteed. The information available is something like
news and the Public Information Officer is not a party to such information. He
cannot say anything substantive concerning the materials contained in it or even
about the accuracy thereof.
The practices of the Courts and tribunals prescribe that the party applying for
a certified copy should state whether it is required for purposes of appeal or
for reference. No such condition is prescribed for the applicant for information
under RTI Act - 2005 to state the reason of requiring such information.
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
- Commentary on The Right to Information Act, 2005, N. K. Acharya, Asia
Law House, Hyderabad
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565