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Certified Copies Of Answer Scripts Written By Applicant Can Be Provided Under RTI Act During Ongoing Criminal Investigation: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court dismissed a petition filed by the state government challenging a State Information Commission order requiring the authority to provide certified copies of answer scripts written by the applicant for the position of Assistant Public Prosecutor in 2013.

In the case of the member secretary of the APP CUM AGP Recruitment committee vs The Karnataka State Information Commission (Writ petition no. 57977 of 2016), a single Judge bench of Honourable justice P. Krishna Bhat referred to Section 8(1)(h), which states that information would impede the process of investigation, apprehension, or prosecution of offenders.

The Member Secretary of the APP Cum AGP Recruitment Committee and the Director of Prosecution had approached the court, questioning the Commission’s order dated 30th June, 2016, by which the Commission had allowed the second appeal filed by G. Vijaya Kumar (respondent No.2 herein) and directed the authorities to provide certified copies of the Answer Booklet (Main Examination) held on 31-08-2013 and 01-09-2013 written by him.

Government Advocate BV Krishna argued that because the matter is being investigated by the Lokayukta police and the original answer scripts have already been seized, granting him a certified copy of respondent No.2’s answer scripts would impede the investigation.

He contended that the information sought is exempt under Clause (h) of Subsection (1) of Section 8 of the Right to Information Act of 2005.

The Commission’s counsel, Advocate Raja Shekar K, argued that Kumar had simply requested a certified copy of the answer scripts, and that because the originals are already in the custody of the Lokayukta, granting a copy would not impede the investigation.

The bench cited Section 8(1)(h), which states: (h) Information would impede the investigation, apprehension, or prosecution of offenders.

It was stated that the entire original answer scripts, including Kumar’s, had already been seized by the Lokayukta police as part of the proceedings in Crime No.59/2015. As a result, it was determined that granting a certified copy of the answer scripts from the xerox copy kept by the petitioners would not impede the investigation process.

“Respondent No.2 is not seeking a copy of the answer scripts of any other candidate, but of his own,” it continued.

Following that, it stated, “In that regard, I see no reason to interfere with the order issued by respondent No.1, who has only allowed respondent No.2 to inspect the property. As a result, this writ petition is dismissed for lack of merit.”

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