Strategic Forces Command kept out of scope of RTI Act, 2005

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Strategic Forces Command not liable under RTI Act, 2005

Miscellaneous India
The Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which forms part of the National Command Authority (NCA), was on 30 July 2016 added to the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005.

In this regard, Union Government issued a notification mentioning SFC has been brought under sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the RTI. The Section 24 of the RTI exempts security and intelligence establishments from its purview.

Section 24 of the RTI Act 2005: It says that RTI Act, 2005 is not applicable to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule. However, the only exception these organisations have is for information on allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

Second Schedule of the RTI Act 2005: It includes 26 intelligence and security agencies under its ambit. Some of them are (i) Intelligence Bureau (IB), (ii) Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Cabinet Secretariat (iii) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), (iv) Special Frontier Force (SFF), (v) Border Security Force (BSF) (vi) National Security Guards (NSG) and (Vii) Assam Rifles.

Section 8 of the RTI Act 2005: It says that there shall be no obligation on Government to provide any citizen information which will affect (i) India’s sovereignty and integrity (ii) security (iii) strategic scientific or economic interests of state and (iv) relations with foreign States or (v) will lead to incitement of an offence.

About Strategic Forces Command (SFC)
• It is a tri-Service command that forms part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).
• It was created on 4 January 2003 by an executive order of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
• It is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.
• It is headed by a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal. The first commander-in-chief of SFC was Air Marshal Teja Mohan Asthana.

About Nuclear Command Authority (NCA)
• It is India’s nodal authority responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’s nuclear weapons programme.
• It has Executive Council and Political Council. The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Adviser (NSA). The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.
• The NCA’s directives are executed by the Strategic Forces Command.
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