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Attempts to seek personal info under RTI be discouraged: CIC

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In a significant ruling, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said that "intrusive attempts" to know personal details of government employees, specially women, under the RTI Act be firmly discouraged.


"The Commission will have to be extremely guarded about intrusive attempts of litigant-appellants in matters of third parties, especially when that third party is a women employee of the public authority," Information Commissioner AN Tiwari said.


The observations came during the decision of an appeal, filed under the Right to Information Act by a Noida-based advocate SD Kathuria who had sought from the Ministry of Shipping personal details, including marital status of one Loveleen Kumari, a stenographer there.


The matter was brought before CIC after the Ministry refused the sought information on the ground that the details were personal and hence was exempted under the provisions of the RTI Act.


"The appellant has couched his manifestly partisan enquiries in the language of public interest... I am utterly disinclined to allow private matters between parties to be elevated to the level of public activity and be brought within the ambit of the RTI Act," the CIC said, rejecting Kathuria's application.


In his application, filed on January 2 this year with Noida office of the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, Kathuria had also sought access to the offer of appointment made to Kumari as also information declared by her.


New Delhi, October 28, 2007

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