A proposal by Department of Atomic Energy to seek exemption from the ambit of RTI Act through a government notification has been shot down by the Law Ministry which has asked it to approach Parliament for such a relief.
DAE had approached the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking exemption from the transparency law as "disclosure under RTI would harm competitive position of third parties" working for various organisations under the department as their technical expertise could be compromised.
It also said exemption from RTI was necessary to protect Intellectual Property Rights of various companies working with DAE under collaboration.
"Disclosure under RTI would harm competitive position of third parties which agreed to work with us expecting their technical expertise would be protected," DAE said in the proposal seeking exemption.
DoPT, which is the administrative ministry for RTI, approached the Law Ministry for its opinion on DAE's request.
The Law Ministry has cautioned that such a policy change should not be carried through a government order. It said the DAE was free to seek Parliamentary approval for the same through amendments in related laws.
The Ministry also pointed out that the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, pending in Lok Sabha, seeks exemption from RTI for the proposed body and the Department of Personnel should wait for its passage by Parliament.
Two members of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which examined the bill, had submitted dissent notes on RTI exemption to the proposed authority. They had contended that no civil nuclear or atomic facility should get RTI exemption.
Schedule Two of RTI Act keeps 22 organisations, including IB, RAW and SPG, out of the ambit of the transparency law.