Lok Nath Chugh v. PIO, Karkardooma Court

Sachet SahniCase Summary

     Lok Nath Chugh v. PIO, Karkardooma Court
In the Central Information Commission
Before Mr M. Sridhar Acharyulu, Information Commissioner
Decided on August 03, 2015

Relevancy of the case: Providing CCTV footage as a response to an RTI application

Statutes & Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 2)
  • The Right To Information Act, 2005 (Section 2, 8)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • Lok Nath Chugh, the appellant stated that he was attacked within the premises of Karkardooma Court, where he had gone for securing bail for his son, facing charges under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. When he was around the Mediation Hall on April 09, 2014, between 10 and 12 am, he was attacked by around 15 persons, including the advocate of his wife.
  • He wanted to have the footage of CCTV arranged between entry of the Mediation Centre and veranda. Along with that, a copy of the complaint filed by the officer on duty regarding the incident of assault. There was no response from PIO & FAA. The appellant approached this Commission.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • A. K. Wadhwa, representing public authority, stated in his written submission that CCTV footage could not be given to any individual as per the minutes of the Security Committee, Karkardooma Court. He also stated that CCTV recording is automatically erased after every seven days. Indirectly, he confirmed the existence of a record saying ‘that cannot be given.’
  • The appellant stated that they have also seen the recording recently and they know the record is still existing. The appellant made representation to the authority to save the recording of the day on which day the incident happened.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The CCTV footage, being information held by the public authority, has to be shared when asked under RTI. The Commission declares, that though the information could be removed according to the established policy if that remained on the date of filing of RTI application. Most importantly, it cannot be weeded out unless the RTI application is finally disposed of.
  • The public authority must use the footage to prove the untoward incident which is the very purpose of CCTV installation. If public authority notices any such destruction, such an act would attract the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to prosecute those involved in the destruction of evidence. The Commission also can invoke Section 20 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 for the destruction of records and denial of information.

Final Decision

  • The Commission directed the public authority to produce a copy of CCTV footage for the timing referred above. It was to be provided in a CD along with certification and covering letter to the appellant. It should also be sent to the prosecuting agency within one week from the date of receipt of this order. Accordingly, the appeal is disposed of.

इस केस के सारांश को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें | To read this case summary in Hindi, click here.