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'National Interest' : CIC Advises Home Ministry To Maintain Consolidated Database Regarding Identified Legal/Illegal Migrants

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
23 Jan 2021 11:01 AM GMT
National Interest : CIC Advises  Home Ministry To Maintain Consolidated Database Regarding Identified Legal/Illegal Migrants
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The Central Information Commission has directed Home Ministry to give clear and categorical information to an RTI applicant who sought copies of records/data pertaining to illegal/legal migrants.Chief Information Commissioner Y. K. Sinha also 'advised' the Ministry to maintain a 'consolidated record/database regarding identified legal/illegal migrants, in the national interest'.The commission...

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The Central Information Commission has directed Home Ministry to give clear and categorical information to an RTI applicant who sought copies of records/data pertaining to illegal/legal migrants.

Chief Information Commissioner Y. K. Sinha also 'advised' the Ministry to maintain a 'consolidated record/database regarding identified legal/illegal migrants, in the national interest'.

The commission was considering a Second Appeal filed by one RTI applicant Utpal Kumar Roy, who in his RTI application sought copies of file noting and records in relation to illegal migrants, especially in West Bengal. He approached the Commission contending that MHA instead of giving specific/desired information transferred his RTI application to multiple Public Authorities. The MHA's stand before the Commission was that the task of maintenance of records/data pertaining to illegal/legal migrants has been delegated to the State Agencies who are the actual custodian of the desired information and therefore the subject matter of RTI application is a state subject and beyond the jurisdiction of CIC.

CIC Sinha observed that the replies given by the PIOs of the Home Ministry fail to do justice, since no clear and categorical information covering the queries of the Appellant has been furnished by the Respondents. The Commission observed:

As per the existing statutory regime, there are three categories of persons living in India i.e. citizens, legally resident foreigners/aliens and illegal migrants. Therefore, to identify/detect illegal migrants and thereafter, follow the due process of law devolves on the Central Government. A combined reading of the Foreigners Act, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Citizenship Act, 1955 shows that it is responsibility of the State to identify/detect illegal migrants and thereafter take action as per due process of law. Preventing the entry of illegal migrants to the country is particularly important as they not only pose a burden on the public exchequer but could also constitute a security threat to the nation. National policy should ideally preclude illegal migration into the country and accordingly the government should devise appropriate policies and mechanisms to achieve this objective.

The commission added that, in larger public interest, the PIO/MHA acting as the nodal authority, should address the queries in a more pragmatic and accurate manner, answering the queries with information available on records, as permissible under the RTI Act. The PIO, MHA if required, should invoke provisions of the Section 5(4) of the RTI Act and obtain the requisite information from the actual custodian(s) of information, it said.

The court also directed MHA to filed a compliance report in this regard by 31.03.2021, failing which it said that appropriate proceedings shall be initiated.


Case: Utpal Kumar Roy vs  PIO,MHA [Second Appeal No. CIC/MHOME/A/2018/164984] 

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