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Service matter which benefit the seeker in court doesnot serve public interest

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Shrawan

Central Information Commission

 

 

Decision No.292/IC(A)/2006

F. No.CIC/MA/A/2006/00588

 

Dated, the 21st September, 2006

 

 

  • Name of the Appellant : Sh. Sharabh Dubey, 11/7 Civil Lines, Kanpur –208 001. (U.P.)
  • Name of the Public Authority: The British India Corporation Limited, 14/136 Civil Lines, P.B. 77, Kanpur-208 001.

DECISION

 

Facts of the Case:

 

  1. The appellant is an employee of the respondent. He was transferred to another Unit of the company. The office order was challenged by him in the Court, which adjudicated on the matter. Subsequently, he has filed a few more petitions on service related matters in the Court. In this backdrop, he has sought documents relating to the legal opinion obtained by the respondent, file notings by the senior officials on the issue of transfer, letters/correspondence with other officials, etc.
  2. The CPIO has denied the information and sought exemption u/s 8(1)(d) & (g) of the Act.
  3. The case was heard on 12.9.06. The appellant could not be present. The CPIO and the appellate authority were present. In the course of hearing, the CPIO showed a copy of the petition filed by the appellant in the Court, whic hcontained almost all the documents asked for by him. The CPIO contended that the documents asked for by the appellant relate to the various petitions filed by him in the Court. He, therefore, pleaded that the disclosure of the documents might adversely affect the disputed cases. Hence, the relevant documents are treated as confidential.

 

Commission’s Decision:

 

  1. There is a dispute between the appellant and the company on service matters, including transfer of the appellant to another unit. The matter is pending before the Court for adjudication. There is every possibility that the appellant would get opportunity for his effective defense. The information sought is in the interest of the seeker. And, as such, there is no overriding public interest, u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act, for disclosure of the information.
  2. The appeal is therefore dismissed.

 

Sd/-

(Prof. M.M. Ansari)

Information Commissioner

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taurus

I doubt very much whether the exemption under sec 8(1)(j) could be invoked in a case where the information sought for pertains to one's own - that is when the information-seeker asks for some information pertaining to himself! In that case he cannot be blamed for invading into his own privacy. Many times such confusing stand is taken. Sec 8(1)(j) comes into play only when an information-seeker asks for an information concerning a third person and such information is likely to invade the privacy of that third person. I dont think any information can be denied branding that the information sought is in the interest of the seeker and no public interest is involved.

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vijendra singh

Decision of CIC may not be correct.

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vijendra singh

Information seeker is is part of public. Hence his interest should also be considered as public interest.

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mpai
Decision of CIC may not be correct.

 

The decision is correct. CIC cannot go against the decision of the Supreme Court of India. This may have been discussed during or after the hearing, but not mentioned in the decision. For the interest of this list members, the Supreme Court had ruled that transfer was a part of Government Service, to the staff member who had been transfered is supposed to join the new place of posting first and then later on, he should represent against it. Only if this representation fails, he should approach court.

 

We always know that when Government Staff members are caught by the CBI / ACB and other organizations, the first thing that the Head of the Dept. does is transfer the staff member. The staff member in turn approaches court and gets a stay on this transfer. This has been going on for years, hence the harsh ruling by the Supreme Court.

 

Best wishes

 

Manoj

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vijendra singh

CIC observed that appellant demanded the info for using in his defence. Law of natural justice says that alleged party must be given every oppurtunity of defence. Moreover , info on transfer cases can not be denied. Moreover , the appellant had the info with him already. In view of all above ,PIO can not deny the info.

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revribhav

The difference between law and justice is marked here.

I have got a stay against my employer insurance company who transferred me to a post in which I was neither employed nor promoted.Under the RTI act they sometimes say my previous post continues ,however other times they state that post has been changed.

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taurus

This is a very old decision. Subsequently the CIC in a full bench decision dated 23.04.2007, has clarified the ambit of Sec 8(1)(j) nicely as follows: "This Section has to be read as a whole. If that were done, it would be apparent that that “personal information” does not mean information relating to the information seeker, but about a third party. That is why, in the Section, it is stated “unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual”. If one were to seek information about himself or his own case, the question of invasion of

privacy of his own self does not arise. If one were to ask information about a third

party and if it were to invade the privacy of the individual, the information

seeker can be denied the information on the ground that disclosure would

invade the privacy of a third party. Therefore, when a citizen seeks information

about his own case and as long as the information sought is not exempt in terms

of other provisions of Section 8 of RTI Act, this Section cannot be applied to

deny the information."

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rajub

I think IC erred on a vital law point.

 

The RTI Act specifically states that applicant need not give any reason for information sought.

 

The PIO/AA or IC should only decide whether the information is exempted under the Act.

 

To determine the exemption of the information the authority can not argue that the applicant will be using the information in a particular manner and hence falls under any exemption clause. The information can be exempted only if it absolutely falls under any exempt category.

 

In this case a diametrically opposite order has been passed by Kerala HC, wherein it was held that employee has every right to get information about service matters.

 

The HC decision is available here

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/directory/uploads-2/canara-bank-case-6/

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vijendra singh

Actually some I.Cs are delivering fair decisions on appeals ;while others are writing decisions without applying their mind. I.Cs are neither accountable , nor punishable ; hence this is the appellant who has to be in trouble afterwards. You said rightly that PIO or I.C cannot deny the info if not exemted u/s 8 or 9.

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI
Actually some I.Cs are delivering fair decisions on appeals ;while others are writing decisions without applying their mind. I.Cs are neither accountable , nor punishable ; hence this is the appellant who has to be in trouble afterwards. You said rightly that PIO or I.C cannot deny the info if not exemted u/s 8 or 9.

i entirely agree with the above observation. The instances of miscarriage of justice are too many. it is not clear why some i.cs. fail to understand that their job is limited to ascertain whether the saught information is barred or not by section 8 of the Act and if not so barred force the P.I.O to supply it and see to it that the supplied information and documents correct and complete as per the request of the information-seeker. Deterrant penalties should be imposed on dithering P.I.Os for evading supply of incomplete or wrong information or unspecifed documetns. - SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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sudesh gogia

Hi

I have seen and I am of the opinion that Sh. M.M. Ansari, I.C., has not come out of his former mindset. I am not surprised with the decision .

 

regards,

Sudesh Gogia

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Ravi Maheshwari

The decision of IC is surprising; in fact, the PIO has denied the information u/s 8(1) (d) & (g). In the hearing also, CPIO contended that the documents relate to various petitions filed by appellant in court and pleaded that the disclosure might adversely affect disputed cases. IC rejected appeal u/s 8 (1) (j). There have been two different stands, yet the appellant has to go with empty hands, very surprising. In the recent decision (F.No.CIC/AT/A/2008/00705) on 27/11/2008), IC, AN Tiwari, ordered to disclose the information denied by CPIO under Section 8 (1) (h). Here is the operative part of the order : “Section 8(1)(h) of the Act is specific about matters under investigation and prosecution and holds that should it be construed that the requested information, if disclosed, would impede the investigative or the prosecution process, its disclosure could be barred under that Section. None of those elements of the Section can be said to apply to a sub-judice matter. Apart from the above, Appellate Authority should have also taken into account the fact that simply because a matter has been taken before a law court does not alter the character of the information in terms of the provisions of the RTI Act. If the requested information is known to be disclosable, there is no reason why it should not be disclosed even if it may be the subject matter of a court proceeding. The argument that the public authority would weaken its case before the court if it discloses the information to the very party who it is contesting in the court proceeding, does not hold water in the context of the RTI Act. The question to be asked under this Act is whether a requested information is to be disclosed under the provisions of the Act, or it is to be withheld from disclosure under exemption Sections of the Act. There cannot be a situation where the public authority holds that an information otherwise disclosable shall be withheld from disclosure simply because the matter is now before a court for decision. These arguments and reasonings are unacceptable in the context of the RTI Act.” It could have been preferred to reject the present appeal u/s 8 (1) (h), but to avoid conflicting decisions, the appeal is rejected u/s 8 (1) (j), as it appears. Anyway, we are helpless.

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s.kumar_ecr

Dear mpai

Could you provide decision number of Supreme Court?

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karira
Dear mpai

Could you provide decision number of Supreme Court?

 

This is a very old thread.

The last post in this thread, before yours, was in December 2008

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