Bombay HC : I&B Ministry to pay Rs. 25,000/- to Activist Saket Gokhale

Authorities Should have a Secular Mind in Religious Matters: Bombay HC

Today, the Bombay High Court has imposed a penalty of Rs. 25,000/- on the Ministry for displaying Gokhale’s personal details on the Ministry’s website after the Activist SaketGokhale has filed an RTI against the ‘Bhart ki Laxmi’ campaign. 

The case was heard before the division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice MilindJadhav and has directed that the papers of the petition to be placed before the Secretary, Information & broadcasting Ministry and should submit a report regarding the case within 3 months. Here, the question of damages has been left open to the civil court.

On 27 October, 2019, Gokhale had filed a Right to Information application with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, Govt. of India, which was transferred to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Thereafter, the I&B Ministry has uploaded his RTI application on the official website with all his personal details as well. Moreover the details were also available on search engines like Google which infringe his privacy.

Considering the following facts, Gokhale had filed a petition before Allahabad High Court which later converted into a Public Interest Litigation and dismissed further, resulting that Gokhale started receiving harass and intimate phone calls.  

Further, Gokhale in his petition sought for a compensation worth Rs. 50 lac from the Ministry from suffering through the mental trauma, agony, threat to life and liberty. The court also said that in case any enquiry is not conducted, Gokhale would be at liberty to move court again.