The Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with transparency panel CIC's direction to the police to make public the forensic report of a CD, purportedly containing conversation between senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan and politicians Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
While declining to interfere with the CIC order, Justice Vibhu Bakhru, said if the information sought related to third parties, their consent would be taken before such disclosure.
The court said that considerable time of over six years had elapsed since the 2011 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and since then Delhi Police has filed two closure reports in the FIR lodged by Bhushan and no further investigation has been started.
"In this view, this court finds no reason to interfere with the operative part of the impugned order directing disclosure of the information as sought for by the respondent (RTI activist)," the judge said in his judgement disposing of the appeal filed by the police against the CIC order.
Delhi government additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, appearing for the police, had argued that merely because the closure reports had been filed before a court, it does not mean that the investigation cannot be recommenced.
He had also said the reports have not been accepted by the trial court and the authorities concerned would always have the right to further investigate the matter and, thus the information as sought for by the respondent could not be provided.
Rejecting the contention, the court said, "there is no material to indicate that disclosure of such information sought would impede any such investigation".
It also said the information which is the subject matter of an investigation can be disclosed as long as the disclosure does not impede the probe.
After the CD came out, the senior lawyer had termed it as fake and fabricated and had denied having any conversation with the two politicians. He had also lodged an FIR.
The police sent the CD for forensic analysis and later claimed that it was genuine, without making public the report.
Thereafter, the CD was sent for forensic analysis to a lab in Chandigarh which had allegedly termed it as doctored.
An RTI activist, Subhash Chandra Agarwal, had thereafter moved the CIC seeking directions to the Prime Minister's Office, Home Ministry and the forensic lab in Chandigarh to make public the forensic reports on the CD.
The CIC on November 14, 2011 had directed the police to make the forensic report public.
The High Court, which did not interfere with the CIC decision to make public the information sought, however put a caveat and said, "Further, if the third party(ies) do not consent for disclosure of such information, the Central Public Information Officer would have to take a decision whether the disclosure of such information is required in the larger public interest.
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