Without Disclosure of objections of the third-party information, the appellant cannot make an informed judgement about challenging the Appellate Authority (AA) decision. Denying the RTI Applicant the requested information will mean handicapping him in exercising his legal right. A decision not to disclose the information to the petitioner in view of the objections of the third-party is itself justiciable.
CIC noted that:
The petitioner has every right to question the decision of the CPIO or the AA about not disclosing a third-party related information ― a right which cannot be discharged unless the full facts about the reason for objection by the third-party is disclosed to the petitioner.
Disclosure of objections of the third-party is a right
It is to be noted that the third-party procedure to be followed under the RTI Act is governed, among others, by Section 11(1) of the Act. A public authority is required to consult the third-party, who might have provided the information in confidence to the public authority, and then make a determination about disclosure of the information especially in the context of the exemptions in Section 8(1) as spelt-out in Section 11(3) of the Act. The decision of the CPIO is to be communicated to the third-party. A reading of sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 11 of the RTI Act makes it clear that a procedure about consulting the third-party in writing is to be followed in a matter which is covered by these sub-sections of Section 11. It is also clear that the only reason why a third-party related information cannot be disclosed to a petitioner is the fact that the third-party objects to the disclosure and that the CPIO / AA accede to those objections and decline to disclose the information to the petitioner. A decision not to disclose the information to the petitioner in view of the objections of the third-party is itself justiciable.
The CIC decided that objections of the third-party, should be disclosed to the applicant. The decision can be read here and the related decision here! You can read more decisions and related discussions on Third Party here!