If the profile of the person seeking Information, in light of other attending circumstances, leads to the construction that under the pretext of serving public interest, such person is aiming to settle personal score against the third party, it cannot be said that public interest warrants disclosure of information to third party. The Public Information Officer under Right to Information Act, while dealing with the information relating to or supplied by the third party, has to constantly bear in mind that the RTI Act does not become a tool in the hands of a busy body to settle a personal score.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide decision dated 13/12/20012 Bihar Public Service Commission vs. Sayyed Hussain Abbas Rizvi & Anr [Civil appeal No. 9052 of 2012] has held that clause 8(1)(g) can come into play with any kind of relationship. It requires that where the disclosure of such information which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purpose, the information need not be provided. In other words if in the opinion of the concerned authority there is danger to life or possibility of danger to physical safety, the CPIO would be entitled to bring such case within the exemption of Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act.
Husband (RTI Applicant) has filed several RTI applications with the BSNL seeking various information relating to Lady employee of BNSL with whom he appears to have a matrimonial dispute and in response to communications to her by the CPIO under Section 11 of the RTI Act, she has objected to the disclosure stating that the information is of personal nature, does not involve any public activity or interest and would cause unwarranted invasion of her privacy. She has also contended that the appellant, who asserts himself to be her husband, has criminal intent and there is a threat to her physical safety, she has claimed exemption under Section 8 (1) (g) of the RTI Act.
Disclosure of information to third party
Central Information Commission while deciding the case noted that "In the facts and circumstances of the matter at hand the appellant’s allegations against his estranged wife of criminal activity, owning assets disproportionate to her known sources of income, etc only demonstrate his personal bias rather than any public purpose warranting denial of statutory exemption as available to the respondent. It being so, we hold that the information sought is exempt under Section 8 (1) (g), & (j) of the RTI Act."
In one such other case CIC has ruled that the fact that the appellant is the husband does not alter this legal position as the husband and wife are two separate legal entities in law and therefore, Sec.11(1) of the RTI Act is applicable.
Also on another case available at our Law segment, CIC refused attempt by husband to get hold of information about his wife’s locker citing section 8(1)(d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act, as he is the third party.
In this present case Mr. Alok Sharma Vs BNSL , CIC/BS/A/2013/001026/5102 12 May 2014 the information was not disclosed to husband and it was exempt under Section 8(1) (g), & (j) of the RTI Act. The decision is available at the CIC website here! You should also read various discussions regarding Third Party Information under RTI at our forums.
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