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RTI Act does not override Census Act - Information about religion of public figures not disclosable

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India being a socialist, democratic and secular democratic republic, the quest to obtain the information about the religion professed or not professed by a citizen cannot be in any event, be considered to be in public interest, which information is strictly confidential as per Section 15 of the Census Act, 1948. Mere terming of the members of the 'family' in respect of which the information is sought as public figures and the leaders of nation, cannot change the statutory impact of the above provisions.

It is thus evident that the petitioner is making efforts to make unjustified inroads into the privacy of said individuals even if they are public figures. Consequently, the information supplied to the Census Officer cannot be made public in view of the statutory bar imposed by Section 15 of the Census Act which is not inconsistent with Section 22 read with section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. Accordingly, we find no merit in this appeal which stands dismissed.- Punjab & Haryana High Court




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