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Thursday July 18, 2024

Punjab police loath to release data of violence against women

Punjab Police have sought an exemption to stop releasing information on incidents of violence against women in the province under the Access to Information Act, 2013

By Asif Mehmood Butt
October 05, 2023
Chief Information Commissioner Mehboob Qadir Shah. Daily Parliament Times
Chief Information Commissioner Mehboob Qadir Shah. Daily Parliament Times 

LAHORE: The Punjab Police have sought an exemption to stop releasing information on incidents of violence against women in the province under the Access to Information Act, 2013.

According to the documents available, the Punjab Police have taken the stand that making such information public creates fear in the society. “The department also faces difficulties in arresting the accused,” they observed. Opposing the release of information, the AIG (Gender Crimes), in a letter to the DIG Legal Punjab, mentioned that an NGO was given information about the case of Syed Kausar Abbas vs. Punjab Police under the Right to Information Act.

The applicant, after getting the information, publicised the information through various TV channels, causing panic in the society, he said.

The AIG mentioned that the NGO had promised not to make the information public. Against this backdrop, he asked DIG Legal to seek an exemption from disclosing information under Section 13(h) of the Access to Information Act, 2013.

When contacted, Chief Information Commissioner Mehboob Qadir Shah said Section 13(h) of the Act is not applicable to grant exemption in this case. He said there are eight exemptions in 13(h), none of which are applicable to this scenario.

The Section 13(2), which is not often used by civil society and RTI activists, provides the Information Commission with the right to order the release or non-disclosure of any information in the public interest, he added.