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RTI Applicant can hide their address by using Post Box Facility- HC

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The writ petitioner claiming to be an activist in the field of right to information, has approached us by filing the present writ petition with the prayer, the authority should not insist upon the detailed address of the applicant as and when any application is made under the Right to Information Act. He apprehends, the interested parties would cause a threat to the activist and in fact there had been past incidents of unnatural deaths of activist in the field, presumably by the interested persons having vested interest to conceal the information that is asked for by the activist.

The petitioner submits, the authority may not insist upon the detailed address particularly when the applicant would provide a particular post box number that would automatically conceal their identity to the public at large. We have considered the relevant provisions of the statute.

Section 6(2) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 would clearly provide, an applicant making a request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him. Looking to the said provision, we find logic in the submission of the petitioner.

When the legislature thought it fit, the applicant need not disclose any personal detail, the authority should not insist upon his 2 detailed whereabouts particularly when post box number is provided for that would establish contact with him and the authority. In case, the authority would find any difficulty with the post box number, they may insist upon personal details.

However, in such case, it would be the solemn duty of the authority to hide such information and particularly from their website so that people at large would not know of the details. We thus dispose of this writ petition by making the observations as above.

The Secretary, Ministry of Personnel should circulate the copy of this order to all concerned so that the authority can take appropriate measure to hide information with regard to personal details of the activist to avoid any harassment by the persons having vested interest. Read what is post box.

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