Ahmedabad : On October 22, 2002, city crime branch gunned down his son claiming that he was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative on a mission to ill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But, he believes this was a fake encounter. Sarfarazkhan Pathan’s attempt to get to the bottom of son Samirkhan’s encounter through Right To Information (RTI), hit a roadblock when he was told that CID was exempted from disclosing information under this act.
However, putting the ball squarely in the court of Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), Pathan has not only sought access to information, he wants blanket exemption being enjoyed by CID to be removed.
Moreover, Pathan has reminded GIC of its statutory obligation of guaranteeing constitutional right of information and preventing frustration of this fundamental right by misuse of power.
Pathan had sought the report made by state to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Samirkhan’s death, and video recording of his postmortem under RTI besides investigation papers by crime branch (DCB), Gaekwad Haveli, Ahmedabad.
He also asked for the report prepared by the then human rights and social justice IG, Tirth Raj inquiring into the alleged misconduct of deputy superintendent of police IK Yadav, the first investigation officer (IO).
Pathan argued before GIC that only intelligence and security organisations’ have been exempted under RTI. And as CID (criminal investigation
department) can’t be termed as either, it cant be exempted.
If CID were involved in intelligence and security gathering, then upto that extent it can be exempted, but not when it comes to criminal investigation.
Also, when local police investigate an offence they are not exempt from RTI, but if the same offence once transferred for further investigation, then investigation stands to be exempt from RTI. This Pathan argued violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Pathan argued further that even in case of exempt organisations under RTI, information pertaining to human rights violations had to be provided. Hence Samirkhan’s encounter being fake was a case of human rights violation of the worst kind and information needs to be provided.
* Information pertaining to 2002 riots from Nanavati-Shah Commission
* Sohrabuddin encounter issue
* Patan gangrape case
20 Apr 2009, TNN