Gopalgarh riots panel not to disclose information to public under RTI
The Rajasthan state government has sent an affidavit to the Justice Sunil Kumar Garg Commission pleading that the information should not be revealed under Right to Information (RTI) Act till the inquiry in the Gopalgarh riots case is completed. The affidavit filed by the home department reads “The state’s reply contains facts which could have a bearing on the law and order situation of the entire area. Many anti-social elements could use the cited information to foment trouble and disrupt social harmony. Moreover, they could also use this information to affect the process of ongoing investigation and trial in various courts. You are, therefore, requested to disallow giving any information the concerned under RTI Act or other similar provisions”.
While a senior judge would perhaps take a decision in the matter regarding disclosure with the warring groups of Meo Muslims and the Gurjars making different claims, such a step does raise some fundamental questions. Should the fact finding panels work in closed quarters? What would be the consequences of an information leak in such cases of riots? At what stage should the information be disclosed, if at all? Should the government put up all the reports of the past panels in public domain pro-actively?